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TRADE & LABOUR NOTES., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 71, 24 March 1909
TRADE & LABOUR NOTES.
(By "Industrial Tramp.") (Secretaries of the various Unions are requested to forward ropies of tlieir Lnion engagements to "Inclustrtul Tramp. -Star , Offi.-e. nnii a list of Union MeetIngs will be fnruisbed at the head of this column for each week.. , TNICN MEETINGS FOR THE WEEK. This Kvenlng. March 24tli — Waterside Workers. Thursday, March 25 — Engine Drivers. Friday. March 2G — Bricklayers; Coopers; Executive. Slonn&y. Mnrrh i;: , — I'ainters' (Quaiter'y): Coßihtvorliers. Tuesday. March 3U — Carpenters; EnginWednesday. March SI — Trades and LaMiss Emma Goldman will fhortlv visit New Zealand on a lecturing tour". She is anarchist of the philosophical Echooi. and believes that all governments are doomed. 3liss Goldman has been married, but goes by her maiden name; she is a ihient speaker, of a strong personality, and has pronounced ideas on the ruling topics of the day. She is 37 yrenrs of age and has been in prison for her opinions. Several industrial disputes are about to bo filed before the Conciliation Commissioner, in addition to those already filed. Notwithstanding the fact that the assessors appearing for either side are paid by the Government at the rate of a. guinea a day. there is an extreme reluctance manif?sted by some of the trade union members to act as assessor!?. A man acting as assessor is — so to speak ■ — between two stools; ho is liable to be in opposition to his employers or to his own union; and there are forae men who are not strongminded enough to accept the position. Quite a nutter has been caused by the recent pronouncement of Mr Justice Sim. President of the Arbitration Court, as to the advisableness of employers avoiding being cited for breaches of awards, by seeing that-their proposed employees join the' workers* union. It Is amusing to see how quickly the Employers' Federation are up in protest at the promulgation of such a doctrine by the learned President. Judge Sim has hitherto borne a very good character from the Employers' Association of tfie Dominion, for the moderate views he has entertained of his functions as Chief Industrial Adjudicator of New Zealand; but he stands in danger of having his previous good record annulled by his utterances on the Preference Clause. The unions on the other hand are agreeably surprised at the position. Unlike the employers, the unionists of the Dominion have never gone into hysterics over the outspoken fairness of the President of the-Court.-in -the past: and they are all the better able to appreciate any liberality of opinion that falls their way. ■ , And after all, the President of the Court is only going back to the principles laid down by the first president, Mr Justice Williams, when he declared that seeing that members of unions gave of their time and money in forming ■unions to better their conditions, arid that non-unionists received the higher pay and better conditions equally with the rest, there should be some preference of employment to members of ■unions. There are men who do not scruple to tell you that they can reap all the benefits without joining any tmion, and these are the men who are the cause of many employers being fined for breaking awards. There are many employers who long ago have adopted the advice contained in Judge Sim's latest pronouncement; they take care that no one is employed in their business, where an award is in operation, without being a member of -the workers' union; instead of seeing how close they can sail towards breaking the award, they keep .well within the four, corners of it, and ' find that it "pays lit the' long rim.' As one employer put it to mc the other day, "Competition is so keen nowadays, that it takes my whole attention to my business, without wasting my time in attendance at S.M. and Arbitration Courts, to answer to breaches of awards." There is a deal of truth in this. The President of the Common-wealth Arbitration Court, Mr Justice Higgins, la? : ,i-. been making pronouncements on the other side of the Tasman Pea. He _3ias lately given ; an award-much .in favour of the Broken Hill miners, notwithstanding the gloomy prophecy that a rise in •wages- would mean the closing down, of the Barrier "Mines. The learned judge admitted that there was only two and alialf more years' work .in sight, but thought that decent -wages should be paid during that time. He has also delivered judgment in the Marine Cooks and Bakers' case, and his conclusions are worthy of being noted by every labourite in this Dominion. Amongst other conditions the union sought to increase the wages of scullerrrnen from £4 to £5 10/" a month, which is considered to be but a living wage. His Honor said:—"l must settle the dispute on terms which I .deem to be 'fair and reasonable between the parties,' as my predecessor, Mr Justice O'Connor. expressed it, and I cannot conceive any terms to be fair and reasonable which do not at the very least allow a man to live from his labour, to live as a human, bring in a civilised community. "But I have to look all round the subject and see that I do not create more disputes than I settle. The Act requires mc to 'prevent' as well as to spttle disputes; and I have to see to it that. I do not create other disputes in settling this—that I do not loosen a dozen nails by driving one. \ We must first find what wage a man needs to live, in the civilised sense—the living ■wage: and then-wage due to skiYL "Now, according to my findings in the Harvester case, in the present circumstances of Australia, 7/ per day. or £2 2/ per week is the least normal wage that caTrnteet the- -normal needs of the average employees regarded as human beings living in a civilised eommunitv. '•In the Harvester case I had, 'from the wives of the working men,' much valuable light thrown on modest family budgets and on domestic conditions of the poor. . . The average lists of nine housekeeping women is £1 12/5. Tliis expenditure does not cover light clothes, boots, furniture, ntensilsv-rates, life insurance, savings, accident, or- benefit societies, loss of employment, union pay. books and newspapers, tram and train fares, sewing machine, mangle, school requisites, and amusements, holidays, tobacco, intoxicating liquors, sickness and death, domestic help, or any expenditure of unusual contingencies, religion or charity. "Probably it is not one of my functions, already sufficiently responsible, either to encourage, or discourage matrimony; but it is surely not anTT extreme view to take that marriage Is the usual fate of adults, and. if bo, a wage that does not ollow for the matrimonial condition for a-n *.dult. man is noj. fair ,_Rn.d reasonable—is no.t..» ! JsiTinjg. r wage." In othss xvrSs, X sannot acaejt the
philosophic theory that marriage is a luxury." In concluding his judgment, his Honor said: "I think I may justly grant to scullerymen the £5 10/ per month which they seek." His Honour also made proportionate increase in the wages of cooks, butchers, and bakers, and proceeded to say: '"I desire to understand all possible views of the case before coming to my conclusions. The main features of my award are that I treat the payment of a livi-ng wage as the first •essential to the settlement of the dispute."
TRADE & LABOUR NOTES., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 71, 24 March 1909
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