Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4
Very little of interest to the Craft has occurred in this city for some time; but at present there seems to be some stir among the local comps. On Saturday evening last, Eobson's Commercial Room was filled with one of the largest gatherings of those connected with the Printing Trade that has yet assembled in this city. Since the Typographical Society have seceded from the Executive Council, they have been making efforts to get everybody into the new Society that was available—stereotypers, lithographers, machinists, bookbinders, engravers, artists, as well as comps. This will prove a powerful Society, and one, I think, which will be able to make a good stand, and help to keep the trade on a high basis, thereby benefiting both master and man. Arrangements are not yet concluded for affiliating with the powerful Australian Typographical Union, but are expected soon to be settled.
The first meeting of the new Society took place as already stated, when a long report was laid on the table dealing with various phases of labor in this city—especially that of compositors. I take the following items from the report, which may be of interest to the trade generally. Speaking of the formation of a Master Printers' Association, it says:— « While being pleased at the successful formation of a Masters' Association, your Board feel some regret in having to state that rumors are afloat concerning the breaking of the tariff by more than one employer, and the still cutting propensities of certain firms. Our Association, like all other Unions, could materially assist the Masters' Association in maintaining fair prices for all classes of work, but it is impossible to even hint at any steps in this direction until we get that moral recognition and justice from employers which we have a right to expect. » Which shows that the Society is desirous of maintaining and helping the masters. Concerning the girl labor question which is at present creating quite a stir in more towns than this, the report continues: « Until some steps are taken regarding the employment of so great a number of girls as compositors, under the present cheap system of wages, and the unfair proportion of boys, it is absolutely impossible for the Masters' Association to exist for any length of time, as employers of this class of labor will cut down the prices. In our own interests, also, we feel justified in appealing to all fair employers to assist us in remedying this great evil, as it is well known that numbers of good men, married, and with families dependent upon them, have been compelled either to walk the streets, take to the bush and gum-fields, or seek employment in other cities, through being unable to obtain work here in consequence of so many girls and boys being engaged at the trade for a few shillings per week. It may be interesting to quote the opinion of the Auckland Star on the girl-labor evil, and the following is extracted from that journal of July 12, 1890:—
Much of the blame is due to the girls themselves and their silly parents, Nowadays domestic service is not good enough for a girl, while dressmaking or factory work is considered more genteel. Of course, employers take advantage of this prevailing human weakness. They offer a girl a shilling or two per week for her « genteel » labor, while an average domestic servant commands eight or ten shillings a week and a comfortable home, and a nurse-girl six shillings a week and the home thrown in. A social revolution is necessary to regulate this evil. Girls should be educated to recognize domestic service as far more befitting a woman and certainly more genteel than either boot or shirt factory work, better calculated to improve them morally and physically, and there is no doubt the knowledge they would get would enable them to minimise the number of unhappy homes through incapable and thriftless housewives.
Your Board would like to add to the above, that neither bootmaking nor shirtmaking can conduce more to the injury of girls, either morally or physically, than printing, and it is to be hoped that all Trade Unions, public opinion and sympathy will assist us in regulating this evil in printing offices. » The report and balance-sheet was accepted, after considerable discussion. The election of officers for the ensuing six months resulted as follows: President, J. Fisher (Scott & Co.); vice-president, R. B. Nesbitt (Herald); secretary, Fred. Christmas (McCullagh's); delegates to Trades and Labor Council, W. Jennings, J. Turner, R. B. Nesbitt, and A. T. Good. The meeting was addressed by Mr Mills, President of the Trades and Labor Council, who had been specially invited. The members decided to take part in the Labor Demonstration on 28th October. As the hour was late, the consideration of the new rules was left over to an adjourned meeting to be held on August 23rd.
The half-yearly meeting of the Typographical Society was held at the Trades Hall, Courtenay Place, on Saturday night, 16th August, there being a large attendance of members, and Mr W. P. McGirr (president) occupying the chair. The report and balance-sheet for the half-year, showing the branch to be in a very flourishing condition, was read and adopted, with some slight amendments. A donation of £5 was voted to Mr J. W. Henrichs, secretary, as a recompense for the arduous duties he had had to perform during the half-year. The report recommended that a sum of 10s 6d be voted to Mr D. P. Fisher for personal expenses in connexion with various meetings he had had to attend in connexion with trade matters, but the meeting raised the amount to £2 2s. The action of the Board of Management in connexion with trade matters was criticised, and ultimately received the approval of the meeting. The election of officers resulted as follows: —President, W. P. McGirr (reelected); vice-president, E. M. Hankins (re-elected); secretary, J. W. Henrichs (re-elected); trustees, F. A. Vaughan and J. W. Vanderburgh (re-elected); board members, G. Purdey (re-elected) and B. E. Vaney; Trades Council delegates, W. P. McGirr and H. C. Jones; Executive Council representatives, F. C. Millar and H. Mountier. Mr H. C. Jones was nominated for the office of secretary to the Executive Council, and Messrs T. Jones and F. C. Millar were elected to act on the committee of delegates from the various unions to make arrangements to fittingly celebrate Demonstration Day. The action of the Maritime Council with reference to the Whitcombe and Tombs trouble was favorably commented upon by the meeting, and a unanimous vote of thanks was accorded Mr J. A. Millar, secretary to that council, for his services in the matter.
It has been a custom with the hands engaged for the session in the piece-room of the Government Printing Office to hold a re-union at the end of the session. This custom has fallen into disuse for some years, but preparations are now being made for a gathering this year, and a committee has been appointed, of which Mr John Bigg is secretary-treasurer. It is intended to hold a dinner in the Royal Hotel on the 6th September, and invitations have been sent out to a few guests. Having been favoured with a look at the title-page of the programme, which is being manipulated by Mr Bigg, I solicited a « pull » of it, to give it as a specimen of neat composition, rendered very effective by a little rule-twisting. Mr Rigg was formerly with Messrs Lyon & Blair of Wellington, and has just returned from Melbourne, where he was engaged at Messrs Fergusson & Mitchell's.