CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
• A special meeting of the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce, for the purpose of nonsidering the report brought down by the Chamber's Committee on the Masters and Apprentices and Eight Hours Bills, was held this afternoon, when there were presents—The president (Mr G. L. Denniston), Messrs R. Wilson, A. S. Paterson, P. Sargood, H. A. Morison, R. Chisholm, C. W.Kerr, J. A. Stewart, John Mill, G. Roberts, A; Lorie, R. Glendining, T. W. Kempthorne, G. P. Farquhar, James Mills, J.-Shiel, T. Young, W.E.Reynolds, D. Baxter, A. Burt, and several others. .-_■ .
The PREsrnENT briefly Btated the steps that had led up to the-Chamber's Committee bringing down the report on the-two Bills that was submitted,, and which was Bimilar to that of the joint Committe of the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce;and. the Industrial Association of Canterbury, He remarked that he had noticed that; Sir Robert Stouts's opinion of the Masters and Apprentices Bill coincided with .tnat of the Committee—namely, that 'it would debar many of their youth from obtaining employment, and that its operation would mean the throwing out bf employment of Boms 6,000 or 7,000 : ypung.: men, \ whose places would be taken by •tradeEme.a hailing from other countries'. ; He r : would eon tent himself with moving—" That Ibis Chamber approve of the action of the. Committee in preparing the and: that they' take the necessary -steps to distribute it they think proper." Mr P. R. Sargood seconded the motion. He had had a good deal to do with the pre» paring of the report, having been on the - Committee, and quite concurred in all its provisions. •' ~"
Mr R. Wilson thought-the report was not stringent enough, and the Masters and Apprentices Bill, if passed, would do a great deal of harm to the youth of the colony. .'•....- Mr Fabquhar regretted that the efforts for the promotion of an industrial association for Dunedin had fallen through, and gave a brief description of the mode of working of the associations of Canterbury and Wellington. Referring to the Conciliation Board, Mr Farquhar said that in the'ujaees that had come before the Dunedin Board the want of organisation on the part of employers was very manifest, and compared badly with the organisation shown on the part of the workers, who always come into the Court with their case prepared. The employers, however, so far as bad come before him in his capacity as a member of the Board, with one exception, bad not their case prepared at all, anjil rarely knew anything about it. The Uuion Steam- Ship Company were the exception; and they had their case well in hand. He strongly advocated the employers banding themselves together, and by sinking petty trade jealousies bhow an organised front to the workers' unions.
Mr A. Lorie , differed from previous speakers, and could not agree with the report brought down. If, under the Eight Hours Bill, an employer wishing to Work his hands overtime could obtain a permit to do 80, he saw no objection to,it. /That power certainly seemed to he given in the Act. Tie could -not agree with the report in what was said about, indentures.' He looked upon compulsory" indenture-of apprentices as absolutely necessary. He thought there was great need for the limitation of the number'of_;apprentices, but agreed that the number should be fixed by the local bodies. He agreed with- an eight hours day of labor, but thought it should be a regular day of eight hours all the year round, and it was" absurd to say that a man who .lost "time during one part of the year was not to be allowed to make it up at 'another. He would not move an amendment, but would content himself with making the remarks he had made.
Mr James Mills thanked the Chamber for having appointed him to the Committee to draw up the report, and expressed his regret at having been debarred _ from attendance at the meeting'"when the report was dropped. He approved of the report, and thought they might well adopt - it. Referring to the conciliation and arbitration law, he expressed it as his opinion that compulsory arbitration was the solution of all I Jabor troubles. The employers and employed were under a debt of gratitude to" the Government and to Mr Reeves for theAat,-"and the employers were also indebted to the Government r.r the appointment of Messrs Farquhar and Sise to the Conciliation Board. Even if they.had been organised the employers could not have secured. two better representatives than those two gentlemen. He urged employers to lose no time 5u organising and registering, and not wait to do so until they were face to face with" trouble* MrR. Chisholm opposed contention for compulsorily indentured apprentices, and expressed the opinion that a boy apprenticed' and indentured to atrkde would never learn his trade he V so thoroughly, as a boy who. was put und6r a good workman and was not indentured;: The .fact of finding men in trades who \were not competent tradesmen was no? •< argutaent in favors of compuleory indenturing of apprentices," for there were some boys and men at.trades who could never be made good: mechanics, no matter how competent Or painstaking -their masters might.be. As regarded 'the Eight Hours Bill, he thought it should be. more embracing and include clerks, arid others. The motion was then put and carried oh the voices, Mr Lorie dissenting.-- - '■::. -.'.:■;.
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CHAMBER OF COMMERCE., Evening Star, Issue 10447, 18 October 1897