Like industrial clashes everywhere, both sides in the Ports of Auckland dispute use whatever weapon they can to discredit the other.
Unions come out swinging for public sympathy with tales of worker hardship and woe, the struggle to make ends meet, put food on the table and keep the starving family together.
In the Ports of Auckland dispute the employer hit back by revealing a hefty reality check – an independent pay review which showed wharfies pay ranged from $91,000 to about $120,000, including some $30,000 in special allowances.
Hardly a breadline existence.
When the maritime union wheeled out striker Cecil Walker as the union’s allegedly hard-done-by poster boy, again the whole truth was not told.
When the truth emerged it showed a completely different picture.
It turned out Ports of Auckland was extremely generous and compassionate to Mr Walker at a time his wife was terminally ill.
In total, the employer gave Mr Walker 21 weeks paid leave to be by his wife’s side.
That is not the action of a cruel or mean employer – quite the opposite.
To have Mr Walker then held up by his union as a wretched victim clearly infuriated the company.
It is no wonder the generous details hidden by the union found their way into the public arena.
How the truth got there is irrelevant.
Union leaders, their political lackeys and media lapdogs who now bleat about some imagined breach of privacy need to take reality pills.
This is not a privacy circus and must not be allowed to become one.
In industrial clashes, as factions jockey to score points and win strategic support, the truth often goes out the window.
In such tense environments when fire is fought with fire, people get burned.
Welcome to the real world.
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