Workers' voice?

The union movement isn't just old, white men in the Labour Party anymore.
CTU funded TV show The Union Report is into its third episode and still has yet to have a single union member or delegate on its show.

One of its most recent commentators has even been washed out Labour Party hack Mike Williams. Yawn. What a ratings killer.

There isn't anything wrong with what union officials have to say. Many have quite interesting things to say. But shows stacked with officials and "commentators" doesn't make it a union report, it makes it a union bureaucrats report. What people want to hear are the voices from the coalface, voices from the shopfloor. We want to see horny-handed miners talking about safety in mines. We want to see the face of a nurse who has seen twenty years of hospital work. We want to see the man mountains who work in the about to be privatised energy companies. We want to hear what primary school teachers have to say about how they bet  back national standards.

The union movement and the union members who pay for the CTU and all its activities deserve much, much better than Mike Williams and Chris Trotter as their spokespeople.

Here are some possible guests to have on the show:

  • Talley's meatworkers locked out for 60 days.
  • Firefighters who narrowly voted to ratify a controversial new agreement.
  • Hillside rail workers who face their workshop being closed down.
  • Pregnant workers on parental leave campaign.
  • Teachers on charter schools, national standards and performance pay.
  • Cinema workers who have begun industrial action for a pay rise.
  • Seafarers on the slave ships now in our waters.
  • Nurses or doctors affected by understaffing in hospital wards.
  • University workers on the changes to tertiary education.
  • Diplomats on public service cuts.
  • Caregivers at Oceania on their dispute.

The working class. What they look like. What they sound like. Found on picketlines around Aotearoa.


Chris Trotter said…
"The Union Report" is the first such programme to be broadcast in New Zealand's history.

It is funded by most of the major trade unions and those appearing are the duly elected or member-appointed leaders of their respective organisations. Commentators like myself and Mike Williams have been invited on to the programme for our wider political and historical knowledge of the labour movement.

As the programme develops, I am confident that its producers will include the voices of rank-and-file members - that is certainly what they have told me.

In the meantime, if you have a better option, based on offering a forum for rank-and-file commentary, unsanctioned by the democratic processes of their unions, then, by all means, go ahead and produce one.

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