Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69


As far back as November, 1889, the employees of the principal millowners of New Zealand petitioned their employers for a weekly half-holiday on Saturday afternoons. All replied favourably "provided the half holiday became general throughout New Zealand Hour mills," except one firm, whose employees were satisfied with the alternate Saturday half-holiday and a week's holiday, or a week's extra pay each year, besides other holidays for which they were paid, and no pay stopped from anyone who was off work a few days through sickness.

Those millowners who replied "they would fall in when the half-holiday became general," made this firm's refusal the ground for objecting to give the half-holiday asked for.

On 27th January, 1890, a copy of each reply to petition, was sent to each millowner, so that every millowner would be conversant with others' decisions. A letter accompanied the copies, asking them to state by 1st March, whether the half-holiday was likely to be granted. Millowners reiterated, "That they would give the half-holiday if all others did, and it became general." After waiting till the end of May and no half-holiday forthcoming, a Society was formed on June 10th, having for its objects:—
(a)To fix the hours of labour.
(b)To effect a proper understanding between employers and employed.
(c)To initiate reforms.
(d)To counteract influences that may be working against its members' interests, and to enable its members to fill their situations with comfort to themselves, and advantage to their employer.

Millers and mill employees in other milling centres on learning what had been done, wrote, asking information, which was given, and resulted in branches of the Society being formed at Auckland, Christchurch, Ashburton, Oamaru, Dunedin, and Invercargill. On August 4th, delegates from the branches met, when rules were drafted and an Executive appointed to see them carried out in accordance with the objects for which the Society was formed.

page 2

On October 1st, following the precedent set by the Victorian United Millers' Association, the following Letter, Proposed Agreement, and Scale of Wages was sent to twenty-five of the principal millowners of New Zealand.