The news that clothing manufacturer Lane Walker Rudkin owes Westpac Bank some $111 million is more bad news for the 186 former LWR workers.

They have not received any of the redundancy and holiday money they are legally due and it looks increasingly unlikely they ever will.

The majority of workers have not found new jobs.

"It's been nine weeks this Friday. People are struggling," Jack Taylor, a former LWR worker told TV3 News.

The ineffectual president of the National Distribution Union didn't have much to offer the sacked workers today.

"How Westpac could lend the company that much money and now be in debt, and there's no asset backing for that, is beyond belief," Robert Reid complained today - but only after the media came looking for him. Most of the time he's the invisible man.

Also beyond belief is the National Distribution Union's complete failure to organise any meaningful resistance to the redundancies.

It's only response was to organise a few cake stalls to raise a 'fighting fund'. This was initiated by Laila Harre, the outgoing national secretary of the NDU. This mostly involved her setting up a page on Facebook.

Ms Harre, of course, has more pressing matters on her mind - namely her career. She is heading off to the Auckland Transitional Authority where she will overseeing the redundancies at the various Auckland councils.

The failure of the NDU officialdom to organise any industrial resistance has been disgraceful. The former LWR workers have been hung out to dry by a limp and ineffectual union leadership that won't fight back.

And with the ineffectual Reid taking over from the hopeless Harre in August, there is no immediate prospect that the NDU will do anything differently in the future.

And that's bad news for workers who expect the NDU to be in their corner when the chips are down.


  1. I don;t agree with your comments about how the NDU handled the situation at LWR, Its about going forwards not backwards, The NDU helped us out a lot in many ways, And yes we could of fought back big time, But why flog a dead horse, Sure it would of felt great, My believe it would of been a complete waste of time,and would of put the other 90 workers jobs in jeopady, The pressure needs to go elsewear, Which Paul Watson,Jack Taylor,and other NDU heads are working on this week.

  2. I would have thought that the 90 remaining jobs at LWR are under threat anyway, givem LWR's dire financial situation.
    I still say that the NDU'S first instinct is to roll over and capitulate. Vigorous and concerted industrial action would have applied considerable pressure on LWR Westpac and the recievers to stump up the $2 million or so they owe the redundant workers like yourself.
    You say 'the pressure needs to go elsewhere'. Where exactly? And what 'pressure' is being applied by the NDU hierarchy?
    Legislation ensures that staff would be paid before the IRD, the bank and other creditors. However, there is a limit of $16,420 and anything above that would be put into the unsecured creditor category - the recievers have already said unsecured creditors are likely to get nothing.

  3. Yes those jobs are under threat but they are making money,When i visted there yesterday,talked with various people,noticed there was a lot of clothing being sold at the closing down sale,apparently the ndu were having a meeting with recievers today,(at least there talking now), lets hope we can put sum plan together, but it is up to us ex lwr people to get this sorted with help of our union,


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