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THE WELLINGTON CONFERENCE.

: Wellington, October &. t ?f r- (Canterbury Tiwteirand i^abor Council) said that the public could form no other conclusion: than thatthe labor ddegfitesiiad tried te> settle mktters. and that the eupibi&t* had- evidently decided to accept nothing short of surrehtlor liivenif the oapiWisfes were. able to'repress Unioiiism just now, the Unionists Would begin preparations for another conflict, and one which, he , feared, would hi y^t more disastrous in its conseqwwwcfc.

If they were driven to extremes'Unionis* s. would be compelled to attach themselves to some pecrcfc fc*«>ciotr, such 'is" the Knights of Labor, winch had already taken » dangerous hold on New Zealand. Mr'Parker' (President of tho • Christchurch Trades and Labor Council) regretted very much that all efforts at effecting a settlement had failed. Ho considered that when so many men, women, and children were crying out for peace, it was cruel Ibat nothing could be done for them. . Mr Hoban (President Railway Servants Society), asked how it, was that tho company now decline to recognise Unionism, soeimi that it. hnd iri the past ejnployed none "'but Unionists (Mr -McLean—Wo didn't care about it, but you wouldn't let , any othcrf; work.) He believed that ths ' object of the employers, m tryi"g to crush Unionism, "was to try and Reduce the wages of labor —iv fact, an employer m Christchurch had told him that one'effect would be that men would work as wharf laborers at Lyttelton for half wages heretofore paid* As far as he could see tho Unionists had made nil the concessions, ■•■■ whereas Mr McLean had refused to giro 'way on any one point, though a little ; yfeldinsfon his part would have settled the whole trouble. Mr T. L. Mills (Typographical Society) said to work 'with non-Unionists praclically meant to have no Unions at all, for all the efforts yet spent m organising would be absolutely thrown away. He ...-■• was strongly of opinion that if Mr McLean would meet them half way a settlement would be arrived at, but if not, then public opinion would m future be decidedly with the Unionists. . Mr Elvines (Railway Servants Society) slid the attitude 'of the Union Company plainly meant a determination to crush oat Unionism, arid he believed that from this time forth Unionism would progress more than ever. Even if the men were obliged for the present to woik with non- * unionists there was bound to be a reaction, and that before long. Mr Ancell (Miners 1 and Labourers Association), . referring to the ' Press attacks upon Mr Millar, said that gentleman had always been m consultation with the other members of the Maritime Council. For himself he dare not go back to his district and inform the men that they must work wrti non-unionists. Capital had hitherto combined m the form of companies, but it denied to Unionists the right of combination, lhe Government, too, were working m concert with the capitalists ; that was evident from the way m which the police were being massed m Westport—a peaceful district, -to which there could be no reason for sending them unless it was desired to provoke physical strife , a * i. \ Mr Winter (Railway Servants' Society), hoped that Mr McLean would see hisjway to submit the proposals of the labor piirty to his principals, if m the course of a few ■ daysfciiblic opinion were shown to.be m support of the delegates, as he believed it would. , Mr McLean remarked that from the tone tho debate was taking it would be out of i>U<;e for him to remain, as it was evident that there was to be a repetion of the attacks upon his Company. He complained that the position of his Company was beinw continually misrepresented. He had come there m good faith to discuss the trouble with them, and he reminded them that the Company had had no say m, tiringing about the trouble. Their men luwJ been taken away and they had encaged others, non-Unionists it had been mid, but he would not raise the slightest objection to their becoming Unionists tomorrow. As to the remarks about the employment of Chinamen, he would assure the meeting that the services of 200 Maoris had been pressed upon him, but he had absolutely refused to take them m competition with Europeans. The 1 Directors of the Company had bound themselves to stick to its 2000 men, and they could not consent to those men being compelled to join the Union. He did not wish to remain there simply to be attacked, because he had a great deal to do, but he asked that if he had to leave he would not be thought to intend any discourtesy. ■ Mr Boase (Greymouth Laborers) and Mr F. C. Millar (Typographical Society) jnlso spoke. m . Mr Seymour (Wharf Laborers Union) pointed out that the men now out on strifes were sure to drift back to the Union Company's boats, and they would re-awaken Unionism there with increased force. ' ■ , , On the motion of Mr Lomas, seconded by Mr. McLean, a vote of thanks was accorded to the Chairman. ,Mr Fisher, m acknowledging the vote, said an entirely new phase of the matter had been developed, for workmen throughout the colony would see that the trades wkicli had hitherto held aloof from the dispute would be dragged into the struggle. Now that this issue was made plainY he believed that the trouble had scarcely begun, but he hoped that even yet something would occur which would bring about a settlement. ft The Conference than adjourned till 11 a.m. to-morrow.

A caucus of the labour party is called for this afternoon to consider the position. Later. Nothing has been made known as to what was done at the meeting of labour delegates this afternoon, except that Messrs Millar and Fisher were deputed to wait on the Premier and obtain his views as to the manner m which the Conference should be formally closed, and also to ascertain if he could suggest any further means of bringing about a settlement of the dispute.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18901007.2.14

Bibliographic details

THE WELLINGTON CONFERENCE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2537, 7 October 1890

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1,003

THE WELLINGTON CONFERENCE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2537, 7 October 1890

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