Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 7, No. 2 April 13, 1944
[Letter from J. Stevens to Salient Vol 7, No. 2 April 13, 1944]
Sir,—With the general import of your article on "Students and Trade Unions" I entirely agree. But I think it unfortunate that you should support your argument with the views of a spokesman of the wateralders' union, when the disgraceful performances of members of the waterside industry are so well known.
The statement "the prosecution of the war depends largely upon the virility of the labour movement" is, of course, utterly unsubstantiable, consider Germany's relative material success until recently—yet the German labour movement bus been virileiy defunct ten years.
Even if It wore correct, such a statement as Ment quoted above, coming, as it does, from the precincts of the waterside, can hardly be in the interests of the labour movement. What, for Instance, are some of the patriotic activities of many of our virile water siders? Have they not demanded and received a shilling per hour extra pay for handling cased ammunition—more additional pay for handling safe ammunition than their brothers and cousins in uniform are paid for having ammunition fired at them? Have they not held repented stop-work meetings on the slimmest pretext, though the country is short of manpower, and even gone on strike without attempting to invoke the conciliation machinery? And does not such action as to draw a large sum of overtime for not working but simply permitting others to do a job of urgent loading for military purposes place men among that race of scoundrels, the war profiteers?
Let us support trade unionism to the full, Sir, but let us refrain from seeking support for our arguments from an industry where disgrace abounds.—I am, Yours faithfully.