One of the reasons I am not a Labour fan, is the parliamentary wing’s role as lobbyists for their union supporters.
The unions have institutional membership and voting rights within Labour. You don’t see individual businesses let alone employer groups joining National and being able to block vote at National conferences and delegate selections.
Of course National tend to be more employer friendly, but it is very very rare in the case of a private sector industrial dispute that National will actually take sides. National rightly tends to think that is a matter for the employer and union to resolve.
But over on Red Alert we have seen a huge number of posts on behalf of the EPMU over the dispute between a Telecom subsidiary and the EPMU and affected contractors/employees. The fact the EPMU National Secretary is also Labour Party President of course mudies the water considerably.
We’ve had more posts on Red Alert on this industrial dispute than almost any other issue. Forget the global recession. A post on 3 August calling for Steven Joyce to do something was followed up on by a post on 20 August calling for the PM of all people to get involved and then again on 21 August and also on 24 August.
Labour have also asked two oral questions on this. They have the right to do so, but could you imagine the outrage if National MPs were getting up in the House urging action on behalf of (say) Carter Holt Harvey in an industrial dispute.
I prefer political parties to focus on laws and policies, not to be taking sides in industrial disputes unless it reaches critical levels such as a nationwide strike.