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Changes at the Helm of National Distribution Union

NDU Release
7 July 2009

Changes at the Helm of National Distribution Union

The 20,000 strong National Distribution Union has a new National Secretary-designate.

Robert Reid, currently the Union’s President, will take over the role from Laila Harré from August.

Laila Harré gave notice last year that she would not be seeking a further term as National Secretary in this year’s union elections. Robert Reid was the sole candidate for the role.

“In my four years with the NDU we have organised more workers in more workplaces into collective agreements. The result has been higher wages and better working conditions. I know the NDU will maintain that momentum because we see daily what a difference a union can make to the lives of workers on low and moderate incomes and to people facing uncertainty at work,” said Laila Harré.

Robert Reid has been a union activist for thirty five years since beginning the first 10 years of his working life at General Motors in Petone.

Over the years Robert has taken on many roles in union, community and international solidarity organisations. He has been an executive member of the Engineers Union, a Regional Organiser for the Council of Trade Unions, International Officer for the Trade Union Federation, Secretary of the Footwear Workers Union, President of the Manufacturing and Construction Union and founding President of the Unite Union. He spent 6 years in the early 1990s assisting in the organising of fledgling unions across Asia Pacific.

Since his redundancy from General Motors in 1984, Robert has had a passion for supporting workers in redundancies leading to economic development and job creation issues. He was co-ordinator of the Employment Network in the mid eighties and received a Social Entrepreneur Award in 2003 to study for the Graduate Diploma in Economic Development at AUT. Robert currently leads the redundancy response work inside the NDU.

“I look forward to building on the successes achieved by Laila Harré in her four years as NDU National Secretary,” said Robert Reid.

“Although hit by major redundancies over the last year, membership in the union is still growing. This is a tribute to Laila, the leadership team, the organisers and administration staff and the hundreds of enthusiastic NDU delegates up and down the country.”

Laila Harré will take up a position with the Auckland Transition Agency.


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