STUDY: 1991 – the General Strike that Wasn’t

Hosted by the Workers Party

Tuesday 10 August 2010 6pm-8pm Trades Hall 147 Great Nth Rd, Auckland

Reading: Peter Harris ctuand critical notes by Don Franks (WP) SOME RELECTIONS ON THE ECA INTRODUCTION

Tony Boraman: “The Myth of Passivity” http://libcom.org/files/The%20Myth%20of%20Passivity1.pdf


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Comments

  1. Reflections on the E.C.A.The formation of T.U.F.was not a breakaway from the C.T.U.,as the B.T.U.had opposed the formation of the C.T.U. from the outset, and never became part of the C.T.U.as they seen the break up of the F.O.L.as a regressive step for the union movement.

    At that time on a National, Branch, and Sub branch executive level.There was much discussion and debate about the issue,ending up in membership meetings and balloting on the issue,resulting in overwhelmingly membership support for non affiliation.

    The reasons for the non affiliation were many,but on the whole it simply came down blue collar verses white, and the unions history and activity within the F.O.L.and the fear that the C.T.U.would be dominated by liberal thinking unions and membership,leading to a weakning of the union movement and its negotiating practices.

    And the rest is history.

  2. Tiger Mountain says:

    History is going to repeat, apparently the public sector union hierarchies have bailed from involvement in the NZCTU 20 October wider mobilisation. They want to stick to their individual wage issues, rather than embrace the required class solidarity approach. Some of these bureaucrats, and members in a quasi national award senario still think they can ‘do business’ with the Natz. Lol. The not so secret ‘dirty secret’ is that thousands of public sector workers have been sacked under the Key government. The PSA and members should have said “not one more job” and held strike ballots a year ago.
    I, not brownie pointing, emailed and talked to such PSAs as I know making the point. Silence is condoning.

    The CTU officialdom itself however, inclusive of low union ‘density’ is in a new situation of having to actually battle the capitalist class rather than “partner” it if they want to continue. The dynamic is interesting. Positive engagement heh!

    I well recall the 90s events. The Tony Boraman paper is an interesting read, I know most of the people named personally, but I am the type who drifts off when basic facts are wrong. That does not negate the main narrative of course. Bill Andersen by 1991 was gone from the SUP and in the short lived SPA. There was a lot of unnecessary to and fro at union meetings in those days about who had the “right” to speak etc. At least they had stop work meetings and thousands turned up! The NDU in Auckland has revised this method of work recently to good effect. In reality the NDU supported a 1991 general strike at the relevant CTU affiliates meeting in Wellington, technical democracy ruled when Gingerbeers and PSA officials ignored the wishes expressed by thousands of their members. A classic combination of failure of nerve and class collaboration.

  3. Ian Anderson says:

    “The Tony Boraman paper is an interesting read, I know most of the people named personally, but I am the type who drifts off when basic facts are wrong. That does not negate the main narrative of course. Bill Andersen by 1991 was gone from the SUP and in the short lived SPA.”

    Yeah, someone also pointed out that it largely ignores the Communist Party’s role, who apparently pushed for a general strike.

  4. ” There was a lot of unnecessary to and fro at union meetings in those days about who had the “right” to speak etc. At least they had stop work meetings and thousands turned up! ”

    Tiger Mountain, there has always been struggle at union meetings about who has the right or opportunity to speak. This rises to acute levels when there is a big issue at stake. Bill Andersen’s role at the Auckland mass meeting is accurately documented in the Workers Voice. He and his minders physically prevented a general strike motion being put.
    It does not make matters any better to say: “At least they had stop work meetings and thousands turned up! ” The continual top down control of mass union meetings in New Zealand is a factor in their demise. If you can’t get a say at your meeting about something that moves you, what’s the point of coming along?

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