The Akaroa Mail. TUESDAY, JANUARY 13, 1913. SOUTH AFRICAN STRIKE.
The strike in South Africa has grown from bad to worse in the last few days, till now it looks as though there will be great loss of both life and property before peace is restored. Our own New Zealand strike was alarmiDg enough, but a strike in South Africa U naturally a bigger thing than here witb our limited population Also there ia not tbe same conglomeration of black and white races. There is every liklihood martial law will have to be proclaimed. The law abiding citizens are rapidly forming a defence force; and showing, as they did in New Zealand, a determination to repulse the lawless section. It is to be hoped tbe outbreak will be quelled before many days are passed, but certainly the prospect is not reasauring Writing on the srfbjeot of the recent strikes a few days ago the "Dominion" emphasized the need for legislation to tie the bands of paid agitators. We hope the prophecy that it will aot be
ong before the labourers will realise the worthless advice given them by the leiders of strikes is correct. Speaking of the South African strike the "Dominion" says: — " During the recent Johannesburg strike there was an outbreak of lawlessness which culminated in bloodshed, and judging by the precautions which are being taken in different cities throughout the Union the possibility of similar excesses is feared in connection with the strike which has just begun. The South African railwaymen, according to tbe messages that have just come to hand, are striking as a protest against the retrenchment ordered by
the Union Government and against arb'irary dismissals from the service. On the face of it these grievances do not seem to warrant a resort to the exfci sme measure of a strike—a mofe of seeking redress wbich sane Labour advocates throughout tbe world have declared should be adopted only when every other method has been tried and has proved abortive. In various parts of the British Empire a section of organised Labour has fallen into the hands of a class of leaders whose reign of power, based as it is on the folly and gullibility of tbe rank and file, is a standing menace to industrial organisation and to society.
fn the fact; of such national calamine
Ibe late Nev? Zealand strilcp, anr tbe ore cow in progress in Scutt Africa, we must rely to an fx'ent n| • oa ihe sense of social respnn-ibi ity •vbich exists in every civilised community. This pen?e does not rest only upon the abstract moral consider ations. It is based in great measure upon the individual considerations oi self inieiest which touch (-very mem ber 'of tbe community. Tbat section of tbe wotkers which ia now gulled by the exponents and promoter,' of class warefare will sooner o> la/er learn what is well under, stood already by all sensible people—that a inflicted upon 1 the community is a wrong inflicted upon every one of its members and that the cost of civil discord and in dustrial conflict falls nowhere more heavily than upon the workers. In some countries bitter experience seems to be tbe only remedy at preset available for industrial strife, but in New Zealand no strike is now legal until an honest attempt has been made to ar rive at a peaceful settlement, and unless a majority of the workers con cerned have voted in favour of a strike proposal at a secret ballot. In Soutb Africa, however, the only strike legis lation mentioned as being in contemplation is a measure to prevent strikers interfering with free worker?, This very necessary protection has already been made in New Zealand law. If reason were likely to appeal to the South African railwayman at this juncture one might wish tbat their attention could be drawn to the splendid results that New Zealand railwayman have attained by pursuing peaceful methods. Thanks to the sane and moderate policy to which, as an organ ised body, they are committed, railway servants in this country ar.e steadily bettering their position end establishing besides a reputation which is a credit to themselves and to trades unionism. For their own sake and that of their country it is to be regretted tbat the South African railway men have fciken a very different 1 path.