THE WEEKLY HALF-HOLIDAY MOVEMENT.
The promoters of the pnblic meeting held m Ashburton, on Tuesday evening, with a view to dißcnss the expediency and praetioability of establishing a weekly half- holiday, have reason to congratulate themselves on the amount of public interest taken m the question as evidenced by the very large attendance, but although a number ot excellent speeches were made m favor of the proposal, and very little, indeed, was said against it, it is quite patent from what transpired that the half-holiday will not become an accomplished fact without a considerable amount of agitation and discussion, and that to bring it about more than a spasdomic effort will be required. Indeed, the promoters of the movement must not shrink from steady, continuous, and earnest work if they mean to succeed, as we trust they do and hope they will. In order to their success they need the support and co-operation not only of the business men ot Ashborton bat of the leisured and working classes of the town, and of the settlers of the country. But all these conditions are necessary to the success of the half-holiday movement elsewhere as well as here, and we can see nothing particular m the condition of Ashburton town, or Ashburton district, which should render impossible here what has been found possible at Invercargill, Oamaru, Timaru, Waimate, Geraldine, and elsewhere. As to the expediency, if practicable, of giving to everyone engaged m business a few hours during the week— daylight hours we mean— to devote to recreation and the improvement of body and mind, there cannot by any possibility be any difference of opinion ; recreation being every whit as much a physical necessity as fond and warmth and sleep, and that the weekly halfholiday would be a boon to the cricketer, the footballer, the volunteer, the sportsman, the amateur gardener, admits of no question, while even among those who are addicted to none of these things the opportunity of half a day at home with their wives and families would be highly valued by hundreds of our citizens. And the argument that the weekly halfholiday would also conduce to a greater regard for the religious privileges of Sunday is one that should not be lost Bight of. Take it all round then, those who argue for the establishment of the weekly half-holiday undoubtedly have a strong case. Turning to what is to be said per contra, there is very little indeed put forward m the way of objection that does not admit of an easy answer. As to the cry that it is an attempt by the employees to get six days' pay for five and a half days' work, it may be at once replied that this is not the case, for if m a business establishment the same number of customers are supplied m the 5£ days that used to be spread over 6 days, then m the 5£ days those who serve them do 8 days' work and are entitled to 6 days' pay. Only one speaker at the meeting put forward the statement that this could not be done, and that to supply m 5£ days the customers now spread over 6 days would m his case require the employment of an additional hand, and It is patent that his must be bo exceptional a oaso as only to prove the rule, which is that our business men generally have staff enough to do very considerably more business than they now do within the same number of hours. Again, the objection that m certain exceptional cases such as that of the necessity during harvest time of being able to procure at any moment machine extras, or that of the necessity at certain seasons of keeping grain stores open any day and every day for the reception of grain, can surely be met without requiring every retail business establishment to keep open any day and a]l days. Moreover, as no have before said these sa,me difficulties present themselves m other places as well as m Ashburton, and if other places can overcome them, so also can we. As to the question of the particular afternoon to, be eoleoted for the half-holiday we agree that if it wore possible to change the market day then Saturday would bo the best, but we think that to attempt this just now would be to attempt too muoh, and. would, be absolutely fatal to the, su,ooeaß of the movement. The promoters will do well to stick to Wednesday, and wo do not despair of their ultimate succobs m achieving this if only they are patiently persistent and persovering, At the same time we think that the date recommended by the meeting, vie, the first Wednesday m Juno, is perhaps a little too near at hand to enable the completion of the necessary negotiations with employers and business men generally, and that thoso who have set the ball rolling will do well if they are able to cry ". goal " by pay the first Wednesday m September.
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