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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Our Correspondents

Our Correspondents

Christchurch, 24 April, 1890.

My last letter must have gone astray in transmission, as I see no reference to it in Typo. I sent it to the post early; so it should have reached you in time.

Trade here is not very brisk at present, and things keep moving in their old groove.

A movement has been on foot in Christchurch during the past month or so, for the improvement of the position of the printing profession, and I am glad to say that as a result matters between employers and employed are likely to be placed on a satisfactory footing.

The difficulty between the Canterbury Typographical Association and Messrs Whitcombe & Tombs, Limited, has not yet been settled, and the Trades and Labor Council has made an appeal to the public, by circular, on behalf of the Association, setting forth briefly the facts of the case. It appears that when the firm withdrew (under pressure of a deputation from the Trades and Labor Council and evidence before the « sweating commission » ) their objections to employ union men, the bookbinders were allowed to resume work. With the compositors, however, the managing director acted differently. Before their week's notice expired he called them into his office, and told them that, although he had no objection to their belonging to a union, he would hold their notice good, and they would have to go at the end of the week, adding that he would send for them when he required them. This he has not done, but he has employed non-union men ever since. In a letter to the Trades and Labor Council, published in the local press, the managing director says: « The Directors very much regret the position they have been forced into, and their losing so many old and valued employés whom they had always worked so amicably with for a number of years, and would ask the Council to bear in mind that it was through no fault of the Directors that the present state of affairs has resulted. » The Association hold that had the firm wished to retain the services of their « old and valued employés » all it had to do was to reinstate them as soon as the objection to union men was withdrawn. Had this been done, no doubt the matter would have been on a better footing.

A few weeks ago Mr John Lomas, President of the Miners' Amalgamated Association, delivered an address on « Unionism » in the Theatre Royal, under the auspices of the Canterbury Trades and Labor Council. Mr Lomas, in a straightforward manly way, laid the principles and objects of unionism before his audience. Although not what one might call an orator, he has a cool, clear way of expressing his ideas that goes straight home to his listeners. Mr Millar, of the Dunedin Maritime Council, and Mr W. P. Beeves also spoke.

On the 19th inst., Mr W. P. Beeves, M.H.K., editor of the Times, met with a rather severe accident on the football field, by coming into violent collision with a player on the opposing side. I am glad to say, though, that the accident did not prove so severe as at first thought, and that Mr Beeves is now able to be about again.

Mr W. Dyson, of the Temuka Leader, who is about to leave for Sydney, has received a testimonial of a pecuniary nature, subscribed by the other members of the staff. The presentation was made by Mr J. M. Twomey, the proprietor, who spoke in eulogistic terms of Mr Dyson's abilities. Mr Dyson suitably replied, thanking Mr Twomey for many kindnesses rendered, and the manager, Mr Bambridge, for instruction received.

A memorandum on the boy-labor question was laid upon the table of the Trades and Labor Council at its meeting held on the 12th inst. It referred to the immense loss sustained by the colony through the undue preponderance of youthful labor in many trades, seeing that these lads, when about to become most valuable to the state, were obliged to leave New Zealand for other places where employment could be obtained. This exodus, it was stated, was going on to an alarming extent at the present time. The memorandum also referred to the unfair competition between those employers who were disposed to conduct their establishments upon just and reasonable conditions, and those who were taking every opportunity to employ none but boys, turnovers, and other miserably-paid operatives. It suggested, upon these grounds, legislative interference in the shape of an enactment to encourage the permanent settlement of artizans in the colony, and to stop as far as possible the grave leakage of population now so prevalent.

Mr H. Merivale writes to the Daily Telegraph that the slang word « masher » is possibly derived from the gipsy dialect, in which masha means « fascination of the eye. » He adds that « it is true that the Romany refers only to the feminine charm, but our modern masher is gifted with enough epicenery to add to the natural probability of the derivation. »