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LABOR MEETING.

AMALGAMATED SHEARERS' AND LABORERS' UNION. t^Z FORMATION OF A BRANCH IN ASHBURTON.

A largely attended meeting of working men was held List night m the Orange Hall, called by advertisement, signed by Mr W. Lundon, Presultsnt of the Amalgamated Shearers' and Laborers' Union, at present having its headquarters at Waimate. Mr Henry Pickford was called to the chair, and m a short speech introduced Mr W. Lundon, who said he wan President of the Amalgamated Shearers' and Laborers' Association, Ho made no pretence to college breeding. He was born m the colony and had been earning his bread by labor since he was ten years of age. When he first began work the schools m the colony could have been counted on the ten fingers, so that they would have to make allowance for him if his speech was not up to the mark m every particular. He came to ask them to form a branch of the Association of which he had the honor to be President, and he would give a few outlines of that Association's history. Four years ago branches <>f the Australian Association wero formed m New Zealand, and he had taken a prominent part m the work of the Association while m connection with f/hc Australian movement. It was found Hy the Australian people, howerer, that the movement m New Zealand had resultad m a loss of £400, 80 it was allowed to drop. Another start was made m November laat at Waimafce, with only twelve members. In March that number was increased to 269, while to-day the membership had increased to 1200. In March last they had decided to widen the basis of union and take m all classes of farm and station labor, and if possible to federate the whole colony. Tli&y hsct broueht Messrs Bidme.ade and Parker, of the great Ohristchurch labor organisation, south to lecture on the subject of labor federation, and by their speeches the work of spreading the movement m Southern Canterbury and Northern Otago had been greatly aided. Rmnoh^s had been formed \n Qamaru, Ti.m,axu,, and Temuka, Ix( j how he wished one formed m Ashburton, and by-and-by the movement would travel northwards as it was travelling southwa^s, The speaker

then went on to tell of, the-difficulties the shearers m Australia had had to encounter, saying that the old idea of Trades' • .Unions; -was now ■:effefce, and'■pointing out their powerlessness without federation — the union of Unions. He told graphically how the first great triumph of federation had been achieved m Queensland. The squatters over the great continent of Australia had opposed a strong opposition to the shearers, and the union movement had been sneered at by the Press. The tone of the Press, now, however, was totally different, and the journalists had been ' among the first to recognise the immense power of federation. Well, the Shearers' Union was beaten m Queensland, and the wool m some sheds was shorn by non-union labor. But the shearers were affiliated (or federated) with the Maritime Council, and the squatters had forgotten all about the sailors. The wool came triumphantly dowH. to tlifei wharf~^and lay there.* The sailors and the lumpers refused to handle it. It had been touched by non-union hands and was unclean. The sailors would not man the ships that dared to carry it. Ultimately a conference was held, and amicable terms were agreed to. The Shag Poinfc Coal pit fight was another instance of the success of federation, and the struggle, now going on with Whitcombe and Tombs was another instance of what federation can do. The union need not necessarily increase the wages of farm laborers, but cheap production meant cheap labor. He knew a man last year refused 4s per bushel fdr his wheat, and 2s 6d for his oats, who had paid only 7|d per acre for stooking a 30 bushel crop. Surely that man could afford to pay wages for harvest work done forhim. Mr Lundon concluded by offering to give any further information wanted, and asked for a resolution to form a branch of the Association. After a great! many questions had been asked and answered, the resolution asked for was moved and carried. . '•• Officers were then elected as follows :-^l Secretary—Mr Mcßae ; Treasurer—Mr Halswell ; Committee —Messrs Townend (Chairman), Woodward (Vice-Chakman), Pickford, Haslett, Chalmers, Solway, Donovan, Howley, Venables, K-oundtree, Tnomas, Hampton, and Stigley. Thirty members were enrolled m the r' oin. . , ••.,..

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900806.2.20

Bibliographic details

LABOR MEETING., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2484, 6 August 1890

Word Count
740

LABOR MEETING. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2484, 6 August 1890

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