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TO TIIU EDITOR. | SlJi,—l learn through reading your paper ' that there has been a bit of a stir made i.itely concerning the sweating system in the clothing trade. 1 would ask leave to call your attention to the st-ite of the printing trade in this City. Several of the printing offices here are almost entirely worked with boys. One employer has even gone so far as to employ girls to try and do what has always been taken for granted to be a man's work. Now, Mr Editor, what is tho result of this ? Simply that a competent journeyman finds it difficult to obtain employment at a fair wage; for, where a man should be taken en two boys are employed in his stead, who do his work, and do it badiy too, at about half the wage which he would legitimately earn. Then, again, when an apprentice gets anyway well up in his trade (and it is seldom he does get v;dl up in it on account of having no one to teach him), and when he demands other than starvation wages he i 3 turned adrift and another boy taken on in his place, at a lew shillings per week, the consequence being that he has to emigrate to some of the other colonies, where he helps to flood the labor markets there, so that in time, if this stato of affairs continues, the trade will be simply ruined, and Dunedin will become, to use a trade term, what is known as a breeding place for "rats" (that is, those that work under wage); and this will also affect the other colonies. Another consideration, Mr Editor, is: that while those offices that employ boy labor can take jobs at a ridiculously small figure, other offices, which are worked fairly and have only a limited number of apprentices, have, in order to compete with success, to take 'vork at ruinous prices ; and, conseo i""Uy, the trade is brought down to a' \li b>w level. This state of things not oai.v i-nplits to the trade in question, but also to other trades. True, there is a typographical union, but they do not seem to have sufficient strength to cope with the difficulty successfully. I think, Mr Editor, that the blame for the most part rests with parents, who should consider the matter well before putting their children to a trade in which, when they have Borved their apprenticeship, they will not be able to obtain employment, and which, through the superfluous employment of cheap boy and girl labor, ia rapidly becoming demoralised and ruined.—l am. etc., Compo. Dunedin, July 27.

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Bibliographic details

Evening Star, Evening Star, Issue 7974, 1 August 1889

Word Count

THE PRINTING TRADE. Evening Star, Issue 7974, 1 August 1889