The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, OCTOBER*" 25, 1800. LABOUR DEMONSTRATION DAY.
Some- irrif ation appfarfc to bare arisen m various centres as to the observance of Tuesday next as a public holiday. The labour organisations of New Zealand, following m the wake; of labouring classes m the other' colonies, Ji.'iv© decided to inaugurate a, special holiday to commemorate the recognition of eight hours as a day's work m various skilled and unskilled trades. This decision has caused some ill-feeling amongst business people and others; and m some instances a pointblank refusal has been made to obsorv« the day as a holiday, notwithstanding that all Government offices will be closed, m accordance with a request from the labour bodies. The employers' argue, and with some good reason, that there are already too many,'general and special holidays observed during the year, and enter, a firm protest against the introduction of others on any pretext whatever. The labour bodies, on the other hand, claim, and also with good reason, that, by the recognition of eight hours as a day's labour, a great boon has been conferred upon a large proportion of the population, and is of sufficient importance to form occasion for Special public rejoicing. In regard to the latter contention it must be confessed,thereare many recognised general holidays on the calendar which cannot be justified upon equally sound grounds ; and there are also many special holidays proclaimed throughout the year on behalf of smaller sections of the community than those benefited by the eight hours principle, against which the same thing may be urged. The unfortunate hitch is, however, m regard to the addition of another spocia! holiday m addition to those; already m force ; and m this matter we think the labor party have made a mistake. We do not see why one of the holidays already on the calendar should not be utilised as the day on which to hold a labor demonstration, and, the various processions and games m connection therewith. On many public holidays—the Prince of Wales Birthday, for instance, following immediately upon the heels of the proposed annual Labor Demonstration Day —-there are no public rejoicings or demonstrations, and any such day could be taken advantage of by the labor organisations for the purposes m view. The business man, whose' Capital "is invested m his occupation, does not care to put up the shutters of his shop or close his offico too frequently; and if pushed too far may refuse to recognise holidays at all. It is therefore not wise on the part of employes to run a-muck against confirmed prejudice, and this more especially at a time when there exists considerable class feeling between employers and employed. In the strenuous objections being raised by certain city employers to thepublic observance of Labor Demonstration Day, there is no doubt a little anti-labor spirit exhibited—'the justness of the cause is lost sight of m consequence of antipathy against the promoters. But there is nevertheless sound argument iri the contention that there are already too many public holidays observed m the colony ; and the labor party will do well to respect this contention, and instead of insisting upon a special holiday, avaiithemselves of one already m existence. This would, we think, be a satisfactory solution of the difficulty, -would give satisfaction to all parties, and would add an attraction to someone of the holidayson the calendarwhich does notnbw exist. In addition to this, the adoption of our suggestion would, we think, ensure the successful carrying out of all arrangements m connection with a labor rejoicing, as all parties concerned would be able to take part therein, instead of as at present seems probable, only half the number being allowed to do so.