Lane Walker Rudkin has finally been completely closed and, as the year rolls to a close, the remaining eighty workers are now without jobs. All up some 470 workers have lost their jobs.

The National Distribution Union's (NDU) role in the closure is yet another dismal example of a union bureaucracy not prepared to fight for the members who pay the not inconsiderable salaries of the union officials.

When immediate resistance to the redundancies was demanded, the response of the NDU was to promptly raise the white flag and surrender. Of course, as it is in all battles, its the rank and file who suffer the casualties.

In this case while many LWR workers are out of work or doing worse jobs for less pay, the union officials are still there in their nice offices, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper.

In the case of Paul Watson, the southern secretary of the NDU, he's busy writing trite press releases that carefully avoid talking about the NDU's role in this whole debacle.

Not for them the worries of finding another job and finding the money to pay the rent. The biggest issue on the minds of these gutless wonders is wondering what the weather's going to be like during the holidays.

Back in August the really pathetic Robert Reid - and national secretary of the NDU - described the redundancies at LWR as a 'tragedy'.

Reid, a former Maoist, would rather just sellout his members than be a proper unionist and organise a real fightback, so his abysmal response to the LWR redundancies was not surprisingly.

As I said in a previous post in August:

Robert Reid has also got a whole lot of nothing to offer the LWR workers - which is also what he had to offer the sacked workers at Pacific Brands and at Line 7.

His response to the sackings at the Line 7 clothing manufacturer was to say that he was 'worried for the future of Line 7 workers.' Reid then disappeared back into his office.

Reid was up to his old tricks in Auckland recently.

In November workers rejected a union-backed management pay offer by Auckland-based NZ Bus. The 700 workers voted by a 55 percent majority in a secret ballot to reject the shonky deal, which amounted to an increase of just $2 an hour by the end of a three-year contract.

Robert Reid and the NDU, which represented 32 bus drivers, announced it would accept the offer - which was met with anger from the bus drivers themselves.

Confronted by an angry membership, Robert Reid and the NDU quickly backed down and said it would re-join the continuing negotiations.

So LWR workers were always going to be sacrificed by an NDU that - like the union bureaucracy generally - has simply refused to fight despite the increasing number of factory and worksite closures.

The only response by the NDU was to organise some farcical cake stalls to raise a 'fighting fund' for former LWR workers. This was the brilliant idea of Reid's predecessor Laila Harre and collapsed after about a month.

The NDU's 'Bake a Cake for LWR Workers' page is still there on Facebook, lost and alone, a testament to the complete failure of the NDU to organise any meaningful oppositIon to the closure of Lane Walker Rudkin.


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