West Coast Workers
Maoriland Worker, Volume 5, Issue 166, 8 April 1914, Page 4
West Coast Workers
DEPOTATION TO PRIME MINISTER A deputation from Otira nnd Bealey Branches of the West Coast Workers' Union waited on the Prime Minister it Otira on Trosday, March 24. The deputation, consisted of J. Minchen and J. Rogers (Bealey); W Kidd and J. Wearn (Otira); W. CoMins (president), and H. T. Armstrong (secretary). Mr. T. Y. Seddon, M.P., introduced the deputation. HOURS OF LABOUR IN THE . TUNNEL. . , The deputation asked that six nours should constitute" a day's work' for all men employed,in the tunnel, both at Bealey and Otira ends. It was pointed out to the Premier the tunnel was very wet, that the air was bad, that on account of the large amount of gelignite used the men were working all the time in a fog of smoke, sod that it wae wrong to ask any man to work eight hours Tinder such, conditions. LABOURERS' WAGES. Tb* deputation aeked that the labourers' wages be increased to twelve shillings per day. They pointed ont that the rainfall at Otira and Beaiey ivae the highest in New Zealand, and that it was winter for about nine months in th© year. TaMng into consideration tho time tost through trot weafher, the average earnings in. the winter wouid not bo two pounds per week, which is a starvation- rate for a man with a family. It was argued tbaifit was Dot fair to ask men to work in such places, and to live under eucli miserable conditions at the same, rate of wages , as that paid in. and. Greymouth, HOURS OF LABOUR. The deputation asked for hours of labour to be reduced to 44 per week. They pointed out that m nearly all awards and agreements hours of labour had been reduced to 41 or 45 hours per week, and that the Governfuenfc were about- employers in New Zealand working their mea 48 hours per week. CO-OPERATIVE SYSTEM. - He deputation askwl that the regulatione ro co-operative contracts t)» I amended, giving parties of mea plaQs/ of their work, 6howing quantft'ee nnd the total price of their contract before starting work. HOUSES FOR MARRIED 1 MEN/ It was brought under the" notice of the Premier that tho Minister for Public Works hnd promise* , ] that houses up to three roems would be:. provided for married men- Though many of the men had been provided, with houses, there iire some renting from other people, and others unable to get houses for their families. The deputation asked that all married men be treated alike and provided with free honses. OTHER MATTERS. Other requests made by the deputation were as follow*•. 1.. That a ball be erected by tb© P«-pa-rtment at Bealey for the use of tho workers. ! .2. That railway far©? to- workers travelling .to . and from their borne? Ibe reduced. 3- That price charged by the Department ..for; coal fit Bealey, ss, a bag, is considered: '<dxcessivie, and should to supplied at coat price. 4. That Department reduce th« charge for goods: from Qtira railway station to Publio Works goods shed. Tho distance is I©es t)m a , mile, and at present Is, per truck w charged. .5. That roads to, people's houses, water supply, and eanjtary arrangements 'at Otira bo attended to,. THE MINISTER'S REPLY. The Prime Minister, in. reply, paSd ho would confer with the Minister of Publio Works on hia return to W«W • lington. regarding the. representations made, and. the deputation would th?" receivo a reply as to what conW h*> done by thft 6orernm«nt ia ,res»wi M the, proppsata WW&«.