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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Our Correspondents

page 14

Our Correspondents.

Christchurch, 20 February, 1890.

Trade is in much the same state as when I last wrote, and there are still a few comps on slack time. One or two men have called here from the South looking for work, but have gone on to Wellington.

I am glad to be able to state that all the Master Printers of Christchurch have joined the Master Printers' Association. Hitherto, I believe, the Association has not had a very strong hold, but recently efforts were made to induce all the Master Printers to join, with the result I have stated above. I opine that before long the printing trade in Christchurch will be in a healthier state than it has been during the past few years.

At the R.M. Court, McCleary, printers' machinist, sued the Whit-combe & Tombs Co., Limited, for £50 compensation on account of an alleged breach of a hiring contract. The plaintiff stated that in May last he was working in Wellington, and received a telegram from the defendants containing these words:— « Offer situation machinist foreman; rate £150 per annum first six months, £160 afterwards. » Plaintiff accepted the offer, and on May 12 commenced work. The next day the defendants wrote plaintiff as follows: « We are always prepared to take a week's notice from any of our workmen, and we reserve to ourselves the right of giving a similar notice should we not be satisfied at any time. » Plaintiff did not ask for any explanation of this clause, but considered that though paid weekly he was hired by the year. He worked till December 21th, when £9 was handed to him and he was informed that his services would be dispensed with. The £9 was said to be for one week's wages then due, one week's wages in lieu of notice, and £3 in lieu of a week's holiday which he would have been entitled to had he worked for the firm one year. The defence was that the terms of the agreement had been fixed by the letter mentioned, and that the plaintiff had accepted his liability to discharge on a week's notice. Mr Whitcombe, Managing Director of the Company, deposed that a week's notice or a week's wages was the custom of the trade and the establishment. Mr Anthony, of the firm of Anthony, Sellars, & Co., stated that a foreman could usually be discharged on a fortnight's notice, unless there was a special agreement. Mr Corlett, Manager of the Press Company, said the custom throughout the colony with printers was a week's notice or wages; a foreman would probably get a fortnight's notice. If witness engaged a foreman for six months he would consider that at the end of thai term he would be enabled to dispense with him on a fortnight's notice. Mr West, of the Lyttelton Times, deposed that a foreman held his position subject to a week's notice. After counsel had addressed the Bench judgment was held over. At a subsequent sitting of the Court the magistrate said in giving judgment that he considered that the plaintiff was entitled to a month's notice or, in lieu, wages for that period. As he had been paid £9, judgment wonld be for £3 in addition, which would make up the month's wages. Costs were allowed.

Mr J. Costley, lately employed at Whitcombe & Tombs, has gone to Wellington. He was the recipient of a handsome present from his fellow workmen on the eve of his departure.

Mr F. Tombs, son of Mr G. Tombs of the above firm, has returned to Christchurch after an absence of about six years, during which time he has travelled through Australia, America, and the Old Country. I understand he has taken the mastership of the composing room of the firm.