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THE SWEATING MOVEMENT.

MEETING OP TAILORESSES. A meeting of the members of the newly- I formed Tailoresses’ Onion was held at the Choral Hull last evening for the purpose of completing arrangements in connection with the formation of the society. Messrs D, Wishart (chairman), D. Pinkerton, J, A, Millar (secretary), and J. Montgomery, members of the Anti-Sweating Committee, were present. The Rev. Mr Waddell was also present during part of tho meeting. About 300 persons were present, tho majority of course consisting of females. Before tho meeting proper commenced the Chairman requested thus,.: who were not members of the Union, or who were not prepared to step forward and enrol themselves, to leave tho room, the business for transaction being purely Union business. [Several persona here left the room, while others stepped forward and enrolled themselves as members.] The chairman (continuing) said that perhaps some of those present wore wondering where the strong Committee that had been appointed at the public meeting. If he reminded those present that several of the Committee, who were members of Parliament, had been called out of town, it would bo seen why there was not a better representation of the Committee. Messrs Allen, Fish, Fitchctt, and Stewart, who were on the Committee, were at present in Wellington, while Sir Robert Stout and Mr Bathgate were also unable to attend, committee’s report.

The Committee appointed at the public meeting to deal with the matter of forming a Tailoresses’ Union submitted the following report:—

Your Committee have root in all eleven times. Upon tho first occasion it was decided that public notice should bo given that they were prepared to receive names of persona willing to join tho Union, which was duly put into effect, resulting in tho enrolling of 6(14 members up to the present time. It was also resolved that a set of rules for the government of tho Union be drawn up for consideration at the next meeting. At tho second meeting, at which all members excepting two wero present, tho rules were considered and agreed to by the Committee, subject to tho approval of the members. Tho services of experts were called in to frame a log of prices for the work, and after the Committee received the same they invittd representativee from each branch of tho trade in each factory to meet them and discing tho log. This was done, and general satisfaction was expressed with it by the representatives. Tho Committee then met the shlrtmakers and consulted them upon the log for shirtmaklng, which was agreed upon, with the exception of Shakespeare collars, which wero considered too low. The shirt manufacturers wore then interviewed, and the rate of prices paid by them was given to tho Committee. Last Saturday your Committee met the manufacturers and discussed tho log, but oould not oomo to any definite arrangement r* accepting our log ; but the manufacturers agreed to submit a log on Saturday next, which log would bo drawn up by the whole of tho manufacturers. This being agreed upon, it was deemed advisable to call tho Union together and form it into working order, so that tho Union, by having their own ofiiceis elected, would have the settling of a log in their own finds, and the Committee would also assist them if required until such time as the Union was in thorough working order. Your Committee have in no way committed tho Union to any course of action, but have simply tried to arrange an amicable settlement upon tho question of wages, and they now desire tho members of tho Union to come forward and take the matter in hand (or themselves, and the Committee will give them every assistance.

The report as read was unanimously adopted.

the rules of the union,

Tho Chairman called upon the {secretary to read the rules of the society, which were received with groat enthusiasm by those present. The object of the society was stated as follows To counteract influences that may be working against its members’ interests; to initiate reforms and sweep away abuses ; and to generally watch over and guard the interests of its members whenever they may be assailed. But whilst doing this members must boar in mind that tho Tailoresses’ Union of New Zealand is not formed to work in antagonism to the employers, but, on the contrary, to show, by their ability and strict attention to their work, that employers are studying their common interests in employing them._ By an adherence to these objects, individual selfishness and disloyalty to one another, which have unfortunately hitherto existed amongst the female operatives in New Zealand, will bo greatly obviated, and the society may hope to prosper and create a feeling of goodwill towards it, which will augment its power and influence for the benefit of the class within its bounds.

Mr Slater objected to the Committee’s proposal to levy, under certain circumstances, a strike rate of 20 per cent, on members in employment. A man earning L2 10s per week would be seriously inconvenienced should he possess u large family. It seemed unfair to make the same levy on single men and women and married men. Mr Pinkerton said it was customary in all trades unions to make levies, and the only way to levy fairly was to levy a percentage rate, It was true that a man might have a large family, but there was no saying what troubles the girl had. (Loud applause.) The Chairman pointed out that the Tailoresses’ Union, after it became a going concern, would not only maintain the wages of the tailoresses but also the rate of wages paid to tho pressers, because the pressers’ log was coupled with that of the tailoresses. He would like the meeting to express an opinion as to whether apprentices should bo members of the Union or not.

Mr Pinkerton said his experience in regard to apprentices in unions was that they were not admitted as members until their term of apprenticeship had expired. It might be better to do something for apprentices, for in the ease of a strike they would in all probability be called out. The following motion was moved and seconded—"That no apprentices be admitted to membership in this Union unless they have served their term of apprenticeship as laid down in the rules—viz., two years for coat hands and one year for vest hands.”

Miss Morrison, speaking as a practical coat hand, said that one could not learn to make a coat within two years, and if it could be learned in less it was not worth while culling it a trade. The question of apprenti • hip was a very wide one. If the journeymen in a factory were out on strike the consequences would be serious if the number of apprentices w’as not limited. It would be possible for the employers to take in a large number of apprentices to do the work in the place of the journeymen, and for that reason, if for no other, the number should be limited.

The motion was then put and carried unanimously. Mr Pinkerton stated it was not proposed by the Committee that the apprentices should be asked to work for nothing or for small pay. Tho idea of the Committee in asking a certain time for apprenticeship was for the purpose of guarding their interests and the trade.

The Chairman said that the passing of the resolution placed apprentices who had enrolled themselves as members outside the Union altogether. For the benefit of those apprentices present, and others who were absent, he would take the liberty of saying that if it was hereafter shown that employers were unduly pressing on them by giving them an inadequate wage for what they were producing, public opinion would not allow such a state of things to remain, and he for one would be happy should such a case arise to take it in hand.—(Applause.) Mr Slater considered it advisable to have tho rule worded so as to show that no more than one apprentice would be provided for ten men in each branch. That would prevent an employer flooding any particular branch with all tho apprentices. The Secretary stated that the rule would now read—" No factory or workshop shall employ a greater number of apprentices or improvers tban one for every ten operatives fully employed in each department of work in the said factory or workshop.” And in this form it was agreed to. On the suggestion of the Chairman it was resolved that tho remainder of the !rules should be agreed to subject to revision by the Committee to be appointed by the Union.

ELECTION OT OFFICERS. | The following office-bearers were elected: —President, Rev R, Waddell; vice-presi-dents, Mr Smith and Miss Morrison; secretary, Mr J. A. Millar; treasurer, Mr'fjeldeu ; committee—Misses Adams, Bella Cole, Whitehorn, Gillespie, Mrs Bell, and Mr Newton; trustees—Sir R. Stout, Mr D. Wishart, and two others. The President, on rising to return thanks, was greeted with hearty applause from all parts of the hall. Ho said he never had the remotest idea of being elected to the honorable position of president of the Union, and he was afraid that a mistake had

been made in (•looting him.—(No, no.) Well, as he had been routed, and as his Mends on the platform were urging him to accept the position, he supposed he must accept it, and in doing so he would say that his best services would always' be at thp disposal of the Union, and he would do all in his power to further the object they had in view.— (Applause.) Mr Millar, secretary, also returned thanks. He asked the members of the Union to work together unitedly at all times to make the movement a success, not only in Dunedin but in all New Zealand.—(Hear, hear.) Then there would be a solid, compact body, the members of which would not need to bo afraid of auy employers.—(Applause.) There was a notice in the papers on Thursday which might have intimidated some, but he could assure them that it was only a piece of bounce. The proceedings terminated with the usual compliment to the chair.

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

THE SWEATING MOVEMENT., Evening Star, Issue 7957, 12 July 1889

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1,702

THE SWEATING MOVEMENT. Evening Star, Issue 7957, 12 July 1889

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