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(From the "Press.") A new phase m the dispute between Messrs Whitcombe and Tombs and the Maritime Council has cropped up. Messrs Whitcombe and Tombs, as already stated, have taken steps to open a branch of their business m Dunedin, the booksellers of that city having refused to sell their manufactured goods. Mr Whitcombe went down a few days ago and obtained premises, which required cert an alterations to fit them for the business. These were entrusted to Mr Hall, and the work went on until yesterday morning, when the following telegram was received by Messrs Whitcombe and Tombs from him:—"l have been stopped work this morning by Maritime Council and Carpenters' Society Union, and non-Union men refuse to work till settlement. Please advise afc once. Wait reply Telegraph office.—Geo. B. Hall." Messrs Whitcombe and Tombs at once telegraphed to Mr J. A. Millar, the Secretary of the Maritime Council, as follows:—"Mr J. A. Millar, Maritime Council, Dunedin. Advised by Hall, builder, who is fixing up our shop at ' Dunedin, that Maritime Council have stopped carpenters from working. We much regret this action on your part, which of course must preclude us from giving any further consideration to your proposals. — Whitcombe and Tombs, Limited." In answer to Messrs Whitcombe and Tombs' telegram, the following was received from Mr Millar :—" The Maritime Council having no authority over carpenters, have done nothing m any shape or form, and are not responsible for withdrawal of men. -J. A. Millar." At a later period of the day Messrs Whittcombe and Tombs received the following further telegram from Mr Millar:—" Have succeeded m persuading carpenters to resume work to-morrow pending your meeting's decision.—J. A. Millar." We are informed that prior to the passing of the above telegrams several influential gentlemen telegraphed to Mr Millar begging him, before proceeding to extremes, to come to Christchurch and discuss the matter with those residents who were anxious to avert a crisis. No reply has yet been received. The Committee of the Oddfellows' Hall and Chambers, at a meeting held last night, decided to place their rooms at the disposal of the Federated Labor Association free of cost during the present difficulty, provided their meetings do not clash with other engagements. The following telegram with reference to the new Bookselling Company intended to be formed atJCh'Ch was received yesterday : —"Three of provisional Directors of new Company leave Dunedin to-morrow by express to arrange opening." Palmeeston North, August 11. The local booksellers have agreed to a request by the Knights of Labor not to offer Witcombe aud Tomb's publications for sale. Oamaru, August 11. Afc a meeting of the Oamaru branch of the wharf Laborers Union it was decided to support the Maritime Council m its action with regard to Whitcombe and Tombs. The wharf Carters and Storemen's Uuion also passed a similar resolution. Dunedin, August 11. If a strike is resolved on, the Maritime Gouncil will rely on the seaman and oolliers, and abstain from calling on the railway hands. Dunedin, August 12. At a meeting of the Building Trades last night Mr Millar, Secretary of the Maritime Council, stated that only m the event of all attempts to procure an amicable settlement would extreme measures be taken. He hoped never to live to see a strike m New Zealand. If the labor party called the men out business and oommerce, not only of this, but the other colonies, would be seriously affected. Wellington, August 12. At the Conference of the Trades and Labor Council and Master Grocers' Association, a resolution was passed expressing regret that there was any likelihood of a conflict between the labor organisations and the Railway Commissioners and the Union Company, m reference to Whifccombe and Tombs. The meeting believed the questions should be submitted to arbitration, and if the firm refused to agree to such a course, then the organisation would be justified to take extreme measures to enforce their demands.

The principal charges made at the Sweating Commission by and on behalf of Whitcombe and Tombs' employees was eaiCessive boy and female labor, discharge eof men-printers and bookbinders—because they joined a Trade Union, and refusal by ' tfhe firm, too agree to arbitration. For the j employees it v; as shown that fines were numerous aivt hen /y for trifling errors or offences. A you' ft, 16 years, averaged an piece wo?k 6s cr 7s per week, and was then puc on day work at 5s per week, and for four mont'is of the year worked overtime .nd go* 4d per night for four hours worV. Tlere were other similar eases, A*' rl engaged embossing envelopes took lor ger .;ime than estimated, and the firn. charged her for the extra time the work took, namely, £1 12s 24 ; the reason given by the girl for the delay was that the machine broke down twice. These items were given m evidence before the Commission., and Mr Whitcombe, m Ins written statement m reply to workmen's charges, admitted the boy ,and girl labour, and could not d» wjthout j.t; admitted finings, and argued it to be necessary and customary m similar large establishments, and ajso that a charge had been made against the girl for embossing because otherwise the firm would have lost on the job as the post had run vtrto more than " the Associated Printers scale of charges." This again was ;v point urged by the men: that while yet himself m a Union of employers Mr Whitcombe peremptorily refused permission to the men to join a Union, and ,"ave but two hours for decision—that is either leave the Union or the firm's •mploy, if not, then it must be fougUhfc out.

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Bibliographic details

THE WHITCOMBE AND TOMBS DIFFICULTY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2489, 12 August 1890

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THE WHITCOMBE AND TOMBS DIFFICULTY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2489, 12 August 1890

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