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Labour Notes


A leading drapery firm in Wellington requires sixty hands, and despairs of getting them. A 'Dominion’ reporter called on the manager of the establishment one afternoon, and wanted to know the reason why. Where were the girls ? The manager said that that was what he wanted to know. “If Sixty girls came to me to-morrow prepared to do dressmaking, tailoring, and that class of woiikj I would employ them straight away, and keep them going for months. We have two head dressmakers in our establishment. I could do with four. Each head dressmaker could keep 50 hands employed. That makes 200. I haven’t got them, and consequently have to refuse a large number of orders. In fact, we have the greatest difficulty in fulfilling our present engagements. There are various reasons for the shortage in the supply of hands. Perhaps the principal one is that girls nowadays do not consider that employment of this kind is sufficiently genteel. We have no difficulty with our millinery department.’ r£i THE FEDERAL LABOUR PARTY.

The more Radical section of the Labour Party sometimes expresses—covertly perhaps— its dissatisfaction with the moderate policy of the leader, Mr J. C. Watson ; and, to the critics in his own camp, Mr Watson ■had a few words to say in his speech at the Eight-hour dinner in Sydney, reports the correspondent of The Dominion. His remarks are of great interest, because they explain his policy of accepting the half loaf when he can’t gel the full 21b. Those who styled themselves the “ advanced guard of the Labour movement,” said he, wore showing a disposition to complain that the party did not go fast enough or far enough. A Voice : Hear, hoar.

Mr Watson had no fear of coherent criticism, but he did dispute that they were in the position indicated by their critics. They were accdsed of lacking ideals, because they chose to go slowly. What else could they do? Labour had ideals, and they were slowly- but surely working towards them. They were paying proper regard to propaganda, infusing basic principles into the minds of the people, and they were not prepared to sacrifice the substance for the shadow. They preferred to point the rig’ht path, and to try and lift those who had fallen by the wayside. The Labour party had, in fact, bitten off just as much of its programme as it could chew for some time to come. When Mr Ramsay McDonald, M.P., charged the Labour Party in Australia with concentrating its attention upon nominal wages instead of trying to get hold of the means of production, he demonstrated a lack of knowledge of the conditions here to-day, and, further, he approached the position in a wrong spirit when he indicated that under present conditions wages were of comparative importance. To this idea in saying that under the new' protective proposals the workman was to get a fair wage and no undue sacrifice was to be demanded of the consumer, the Labour Party had sot out to achieve something that was worth trying for even if they did fail. (Cheers). For them to adopt an attitude of sitting sulking because they could not get everything would bo suicidal. It would mean that many existing abuses would go unremedied. They' at least could he minimised, even if they' could not be wholly abolished.— (Cheers). (Mr Watson is retiring from political life on account of illhealth.)

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Bibliographic details

Labour Notes, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 27, 26 October 1907

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Labour Notes Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 27, 26 October 1907

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