No hamper for National supporter

At least one redundant Hillside worker has been denied a Christmas hamper of community-donated goods, organised by Labour Party Dunedin South MP Clare Curran.

Hillside plant and process improvement leader David Fenwick said he was told by Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) Hillside branch delegates he would not receive a community hamper because he was a National supporter and a ''scabber''.

In total, 111 hampers were compiled by Ms Curran and RMTU Hillside branch delegates then distributed them to redundant Hillside workers last week.

More than $3000 worth of food, alcohol, toys, clothes and vouchers was given to the Hillside hamper appeal by Dunedin businesses and individuals.

Mr Fenwick was part of the 20-strong ''sunset crew'' tasked with closing down all but Hillside's heavy lift and foundry, and would be made redundant in late February or early March. He said he was asked, with other workers, to gather in the Hillside car park for hampers to be given out but did not receive one.

''I asked if there was a hamper for me and was told no, because I was a National supporter and a scabber. The union people simply don't want me to have a hamper because I voted National and always have.

''They seem to regard me as a scab, but there's no truth in that. I've never crossed any picket line to go to work. It's quite malicious. Being a National supporter is my right.''

Mr Fenwick said he knew of another non-union worker who also did not receive a hamper.

He said hampers were given to others in the sunset crew as well as those who had retained employment under KiwiRail outside Hillside.

Ms Curran said she did not know Mr Fenwick had not received a hamper. Although she organised the hamper appeal, she ''trusted'' union delegates to compose a list of recipients and distribute hampers accordingly.

She ''understood'' some workers would not get hampers but said she did not ask why, and did not know whether hampers were only given to union members. She said she would not be taking any action. RMTU Hillside branch chairman Stuart Johnstone deferred comment to secretary Les Ingram, who said he was not aware of the issue.

Mr Ingram said he was disappointed Mr Fenwick had contacted the Otago Daily Times instead of raising the matter with him. He did not see the list of recipients but said ''many'' people who were not in the union got hampers and it was ''probably an oversight''.

''It's been a very stressful month and possibly some mistakes have been made which is regrettable,'' he said.

National list MP Michael Woodhouse said he was told about the incident by a ''mutual friend'' late on Friday and organised for some goods to be donated to Mr Fenwick.

Mr Woodhouse said he hoped the absence of the hamper was an ''oversight'' and not intentional or politically motivated.

''My concern is that what was a very generous gesture, facilitated by the union on the part of businesses in Dunedin, risks being tainted because of the failure for everybody to get one.''



Fair enough

Mr Fenwick's sense of entitlement is somewhat ironic, given the party he votes for campaigns on an anti-poor, beneficiary bashing ticket. 
Let's make this simple. Hillside was sold off because the Government would not support Kiwirail in keeping this engineering work in NZ. All the opposition parties invested time and energy into a campaign to save Hillside, with support from workers and the wider community.
One of the parties representatives has kindly organised hampers for those workers. Ergo, the people/workers that supported the Save Hillside campaign should receive the hampers. As for people like Mr Fenwick, well..... they get to enjoy their "brighter future". 

Point scoring

The Hillside workers were shafted by the Nats. You can try and weasel out of it by talking about the signing of the free trade agreements, but those contracts still could and should have gone to Hillside. Yes, the man should have got his hamper, but although the hamper was the Labour MP's initiative, it seems clear that their distribution was not a party matter. Criticism of Labour over this is cheap and unreasonable point scoring. They should be congratulated for organising something so helpful at a difficult time.

Ridiculous ridiculous

Baxter, it appears you haven't read the article as you are mistaken on a couple of points.
One, this was not a union initiative it was an initiative of a serving Member of Parliment.
Two, Mr Fenwick did not vote for Labour who signed the free trade agreement that has lead to these redundancies.
Seems he is being shafted by the people that shafted him.


Unions certainly have a very important part to play in the workplace environment. However, it's this sort of petty, intransigent union behaviour that has inexorably contributed to the decline of New Zealand manufacturing over the years. They sure missed a chance to exhibit some bilateral goodwill.

Re: Ridiculous

The point of this that is getting some people upset is that the hamper wasn't given as the person votes for a party not affiliated with the union and the guy was called a "scabber", and the union was "facilitating" this venture on behalf of individuals and businesses that have donated for the hampers.

The union missed a chance to show some goodwill and win over non-members.

Other non-union staff got the hampers but this chap apparently didn't because he didn't vote Labour.

In terms of voting to make himself and his mates redundant, who was it that signed that free trade agreement with China, the one that excludes dairy?


I fail to see why on Earth someone who literally voted to have his workmates made redundant would even expect to get a hamper from a union-organised drive.
Mr Fenwick is indeed fully entitled to vote for whoever he chooses, but likewise the union is fully entitled to choose who it gives benefits from its initiatives and organisation to.
It is somewhat ridiculous he feels he has any entitlement to one. 


Blinkers on

From what the article says, it would appear the person/persons handing out the hampers took it upon themselves to decide that Dave didn't deserve one.

MaxPower: The article states that others in the sunset crew and those staying on at Hillside received hampers.
GWScam: Aren't most at Hillside Labour supporters who would never support National? How is that different from Mr Fenwicks stance? 


General good

Shows the true nature of Labour and their support partner in the unions - not interested in the general good, only what they can get for themselves.

Don't believe it

I simply do not believe this. It sounds to me like Mr Ingram has been approached by the ODT unaware of the situation and has been unable to comment on why Mr Fenwick did not get a package and hasn't had time to find out why.
I bet that we will hear later this week that he in fact was not entitled to one as he is part if the sunset crew and none of them received packages. Either that or the packages were organised by the union for current union members only, which is fair enough. This is how other organisations such as social clubs work - you have to be a member to get the Christmas hamper.

Hillside solidarity

Not so much who he votes for. Mr Fenwick is accused of scabbing. Is he a strikebreaker, or not?

Bah Humbug

Nice Xmas spirit right there from Labour! Shouldn't matter who he voted for as it's a personal choice, the redundancy however is not! How mean and nasty could you possibly be. Had it been a Labour government would you have denied the National voters? Get your head out of your backsides, its Xmas.

It is what needs to happen

Though I feel for any worker made redundant because the Govt is ignoring the average Kiwi and is blatantly uncaring towards most low and middle income earners, their supporters need to get the message instead.

If someone is still so 'loyal' as to continue supporting a political party that has seen not just their workmates made redundant but also themselves - surely they should also be accepting that others around them won't be comfortable with that loyalty?

I have always wondered about people so blind as to "always vote" for a certain party no matter what.  To me it seems like a very dangerous trait, and one that could keep a potentially corrupt, totally incompetent Govt in place term after term - all the while destroying the lives of many of its own 'blindly loyal' supporters.  The same sort of Govt that would gladly give contracts to foreign owned and based businesses rather than their own citizens keeping them in employment.


Hillside hampers

What a whinger -- if you still have a pay packet coming in until Feb/March then why should you get free community goods donated for those that have lost their jobs?

Ask again after that date and you will get the same support everyone else does - of course you won't get the free publicity because by then the politicians will have moved on.

New Tui billboard

Union Secretary: It was probably an oversight.

Yeah, right.

If it was union funds and donations that were being given out then it would be one thing, but for donations from businesses and individuals used like this, is something else.

Another example of the tolerant left at work.

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