The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Vertas et Prævalebit. WEDESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1890.
The decision of the House on Monday evening m regard to the present strike may be taken as a reflex of public opinion. The House and the country are thoroughly sick and tired of the present suicidal war between capital and labour, and there is an earnest wish that both sides should go to immediate arbitration. In addition to the great loss being suil'ercd by the parties immediately concerned, the general public are suffering incalculable loss and inconvenience, while the country, through the Customs and railway, is losing revenue to such an extent that it will be a marvel it the public accounts do not show a large deficit for the present financial year—thus necessitating the imposition of extri taxation. It is tliereforein the interests of all parties that the differences between the wharf labourers, seamen, and others with the shipowners should be immediately patched up. This can only be done by mutual concession and the settlement of a basis by means of which future complications will be avoided. The House, while not committing itself to either side, has instructed the Government to bring about a Conference of employers and employed at an early date, and there can be little doubt, should this conference be held, a speedy settlement of the labor difficulty will be the result. ! The only'question is, will the parties go to arbitration, or will specious excuses be brought forward to continue the present struggle until either one or other of the belligerent forces make at! unconditional surrender. It is possible the foregoing difficulty may arise, but it is scarcely probable, m face of the fact that Parliament, by a vote of 51 to 11, has flemanded that the employers and employed shall immediately proceed to arbitration. Neither party to the struggle will venture, we hope, to ignore the request, but should either or both do so, a heavy responsibility will rest upon the offending shoulders. New Zealand is not m a position, having just emerged from a long period of depression, to stand the consequences of a long and bitter struggle between capital and labor and the consequent paralysis of trade and industry. There is virtually nothing? for employers and employed to fight about so far as the outsider can judge. The local quarrel has been fed from a foreign flame, and it is necessary that the connecting link should be cut. The vast majority of employees m New Zealand are satisfied with the conditions of their employment, and the majority of employers are satisfied with their servants. There is therefore no quarrel of wages or principle—that quarrel only obtains on the Australian shores, and the Australians should be left to fight it out among themselves. One of the best things that could happen as a result of the present struggle for this colony would be for the Union Steamship Company and the Maritime Council to cut the painter, as the colony has virtually done, from the Australians, and m future govern themselves.