THE SWEATING BUSINESS.
TO THE EDITOR, Sir,—Severe illness prevented me from taking any part in tho recent agitation about the sweating which tailoresses and sewing girls are subject to in Dunedin, Well, sir, I hope that you will allow me to make a few remarks about this matter, which f jiPPP the Dunedin and adjacent inhabitants wilj take notice of,
In the first place I may state that members of my family have been employing many sewing girls for some years, and I am
in a position to say that competent hands could always earn very fair wages. But, sir, those that could not earn anything like wages were those that were not used to the work, and were compelled to try the needle as a last resource to keep perhaps husband and family from starving, and in many cases keep parents and family from starving. This agitation about the tailoresses, etc., I look on—to use a sporting phrase —as the drawing of a red herring across the track of the cursed system of long hours and sweating, as they go hand in hand in all countries, and bring along with them low wages, misery, and crime. The Factory Act compels the closing of factories and restricts the hours of labor. Is not that enactment evaded continually all over the town ? I ask the working men and women of Dunedin and suburbs why they persist in shopping after 5 p.m. on any day. It is not necessary, and it causes shopmen and shopwomen to be kept at work so late that they are much worse off than a large portion of the American slaves were.
I Perhaps those gentlemen who so kindly undertook the cause of the tailoresses, etc., are not aware that several other factories besides clothing factories exist in Dunedin, employing women, girls, and boys. Have Itliey inquired what remuneration or wages are paid by the jam factories ? Is it true ■that those kind, Christian men who own jam factories pay only from Gs to 10s per | week to the young women and girls em- | ployed by them ? Sir, it is full time that j thorough action should be taken by those j of our leading citizens who object to our | sweating system. Make a searching investi- | gation, and expose fearlessly the inhuman f slavedrivers who pay starvation wages and | compel long hours. Now, I have a pro- | posal to make to the working men lof the city and suburbs, which, I I hope, they will entertain. I may state I that I have consulted one of the cleverest lawyers in the City on the matter, and he says that it is without any legal danger whatever. I may further say that I will be glad to contribute L2 2s towards the cost. Well, my proposal is this: Let all the working men of Dunedin, etc., combine for once, and subscribe enough money to pay for a bay in the Exhibition, and fit up the I bay with the names and addresses of all employers of labor in the town and district who keep their employes at work after 5.30 p.m., and also stating the wages paid by them. After the bay is fitted up with the requisite information, I would advise a systematic boycott.
Our churches are complaining of their want of attraction. Well, 1 would advise our clergy to be bold enough to inquire into the working hours of our working men, and what amount of wages are paid. I will be glad to help any movement that aims at general abatement of long hoars and low wages.— l am, etc,, Anti-sweater. Dunedin, August 5.
Permanent link to this item
THE SWEATING BUSINESS., Evening Star, Issue 7978, 6 August 1889
THE SWEATING BUSINESS. Evening Star, Issue 7978, 6 August 1889
Using This Item
Allied Press Ltd is the copyright owner for the Evening Star. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence. This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Allied Press Ltd. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.