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CONCILIATION BOARD., Issue 10436, 4 October 1897
THE TAILORS' DISPUTE. The Conciliation Hoard held a sitting this afternoon to consider the matters in dispute between thy Operative Tailors' Society and the master tailors of Dunedin. The members of the Roard present were iieisra \V. A. Sun (chairman), G. I'. Farijaliar, G. L. Sisc, I. A. Millar, M.ViR., and Robert Ferguson. The operatives' society were represented by Messrs R. C. Wilson (secretary), John Henderson, and Thomas Young. The following master tailors were present:—Robert Scott (W. and R. Scott), Weber (Brown, Ewing, and Co.), Crow (Hallenstein Bros.), Smith (Craig and Smith), Alex. Robb, James Crombie, W. lies, Thomas Jenkins, M. Fagan, James Hendry, J. M'Donald, Sale (Herbert. Haynes. and Co.), and Simpson (Duthie Bros.). The following firms were represented : —Messrs W. Aitken and Son, J. and J. Arthur, T. F. Feltham, J. A. Kirby, F. Smith, Stokeß and Sons, Todd and Ero.vn, G. M. Wilkie, and Bccneb and Griffen. The Order ot Reference contained the following conditions of labor asked for :
(1) That the number of apprentices be limited to one to four.piece workers or fraction of the first four; all apprentices to be indentured aft(ra three months' trial, and to serve for five years. (2) That not more than one day-wage man be allowed to each .shop; the day-wage man to have charge of the apprentices, and have no other permanent assistance. (3) Members of the society to have the pre-emptive right of employment. (4) The minimum wage for day-wage men shall be M.l los. (5) The hours of labor shall be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with one hour for dinner, and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. There was a further clause providing that where females are employed they must make and press their own work.
Mr Wilson (Operative Tailors) suggested that the masters should appoint three of their number to represent them before the Board.
Mr lies said the matter had been considered by the master tailors, and there were no three or even four of them prepared to undertake the work.
Mr Wilson, in opening the case for the operatives, said that one of the points in the order of reference—namely, overtime—had been agreed on, and he suggested that the masters should be asked if they were prepared to concede any other points. Mr lies pointed out that in the list of names of masters brought into the dispute several had been omitted namely, the D.1.C., Lorie and Co., F. Williams, Rankin, Jarvis, Johnston, Sinclair, and others. Mr Wilson said the names mentioned were purely piecework shops, and could not be brought before the Board unless all the factories were also brought. In reply to the chairman, the masters admitted that they had conceded the demand in regard to overtime, but were prepared to agree to none of the other demands.
Mr Wilson then proceeded with the opening of the case for the Dunedin Operatives' Society. He said that every means had been used to try and induce the employers to settle the grievance in au am:o iblem mmr. The Tailors' Union had been in operation since 1865, and had been generally recognised almost since its inception. After having outlined thestepsthathad been taken by theoperaives, and detailing what had led up to the dispute being brought before the Board, Mr Wilson went on to refer to the various matters contained in the order of reference, and dealt with them seriatim. He went very fully into all the matters in dispute, and supported his contentions fcy numerous ■extracts from evidence given before the Arbitration Court, and from other sources. Mr Crow staled that his firm agreed to all the demands of the union, including the log, with fche exception of those restricting shops to employing only one weekly wage mm, and with regard to tailoresses pressing their own work.
Mr Weber said that Messrs Brown, Ewing, and Co., while agreeing to most of the demands, opposed the stipulation of one apprentice for four men, and thought that one to three men was sufficient. They were altogether opposed to the indenturing of apprentices.
Mr Crombie pointed out that the hours of labor to bo worked—namely, forty-four hourß—was too small. The present number was fifty, and the tailoresses' hours were forty-five. In most of the other trades the hours worked per week were forty-eight. If only one wage man was to be employed iflflvery shop it would ups;c the trade in Dunediu. He was very much opposed to indenturing of apprentices. That system was going out of use altogether. It was bad, inasmuch «s it made the boys unmanageable. The log which was submitted required amending ia several respects. If women were to press their own work he would have to do away with several of his nest tailoresses, for they had told him that if that regulation were made they would have to give up the trade. That would mean to him an additional cost of about 143 in making an ordinary sac suit; and any business man could see that as that was an increase in wages interest would have to be charged on it and would mean a much larger increase in the co3t to the public. If they could get the old rates of £5 and £6 for suitß such provisions would be all right, but in the present state of affairs it could not be done.
Mr A. Robb pointed out that in Bhops <wuere ladies' work was done it would be ■absolutely impossible to work only one , weeldj r -wage man. He was quite agreeable -to a minimum- wage of £2 10s for a week •of forty-eight hours, and in regard to giving ■union men pre-emptive right of employment ie preferred to have a free hand. The log in many respects was too high, and that for ladies be could not entertain at all.
Mr Ileß was prepared to accept an arrange■rnent giving oae apprentice for every three •or part of three men. and x>ne every two aod a-half years. If indenturing were ■nude compulsory he would simply do away ■with every apprentice.-he had. •To do away Tvith tailoresses would mean an increase of £1 to «very suit. He objected to the log **holus boiiis"—it was twenty years behind the times.
Mr Gale congratulated Mr Wilson on the very able way in which he bad introduced the case for the operatives. Twenty years •ago a man only got one suit a year and paid £6 10a. for it. Now he got three suits ■u year and paid £32 for them. He paid more to his tailor, but the journeyman tailor got no benefit from it—the price would not allow it. If the deraandß were to be made the award of the Board the result would simply be that they Would have to oloae up their shops. Dealing with ttve demands seriatim, he objected to the apprentice oonditions < and thought jftree wagea men should be allowed to each <&/)p. ■'- He -did not object particu'latftf to the stipulation that union CTies were to have p-e-emptive right of ■employment. The overtime clauseß were very maeh needed. He could speak feelingly on tb« point, for when he first came to Dunedin he had had to walk about the 'streets, whilst other meu were working overtime. The same thing was being <<iene now, and there ware tailors' shops •which should not be called shops at •■all, buAj " lighthouses of Dunedin/ for they Store lit up half the night, with the hands •working inside. He had no doubt that the iolaase regarding the women having to press ttheir own work was nothing more nor leas Itihan an attempt to drive the females out of tthe trade. At 4.30 the Board were stiil sitting.
The gunpowder hulk Emily Downing is being sold by the Taamanian Government.' This old vessel has a history. She was the notorious brig Lady Franklin, which was .built at Port Arthur in the early forties, and msed in conveying convicts between Hobart •and Norfolk Island, under the command of (the late Captain William Wellett, who was '. an one of her voyages so seriously injured by | csutinous convicts that he wbb superannuated. In this partieubr mutiny the con- j victa seized the vessel, battcaing the soldiers down below, and leaving a boy at the masthead to release them when the mutineers, •wiio took to the boats, pulled away from the Subsequently, the late Mr A. \ M'Gnegor purchased the barque, rigged her,: =and whaled with her for some twenty years. [ 'The Government purchased her for a gunpowder hulk in 1885. She is still a strong, staunch vessel, and has many years of life •before,her. Although the brain is perpetually active, jyet the whole of it is never &t work at one <time. The two hemispheres, or halves, do not operate simultaneously, but alternate in action.—i now if JP the one .half, then the other.
CONCILIATION BOARD., Issue 10436, 4 October 1897
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