The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69
Mr. Christie. Lawrence, 14th January, 1891
14th January, 1891.
Mr. Christie said he was one of the first to mention the necessity of the eight hours system. Mr. Harraway, who was upon the line as himself, supported him. He did not see why millers should not have the eight hours, but thought for country (water) mills there must be some concession, because the water, in many instances, might be short for days, and at other times there might be plenty. Regarding the proposed conference between employers and employees, he thought five from each side would be better than three. At a meeting of mill-owners it had been decided that the movement should come into force from the 1st January, 1891. An owner could not be blamed for using a head of water during the dry season when he had it. There ought to be an arrangement between the owners and employees of country mills for this contingency. Mr. Christie then went on to say that he believed in the eight hours system, and was quite in favour of the mission of the deputation, but where water has to be depended upon there must be a line drawn—country mills could not come under the same rules as town establishments. Regarding the slack time and busy time, there must be a provision or agreement entered into, so that a man could not leave the mill after the slack period was over and the water likely to be plentiful. It was his wish to thoroughly work in favour of the system, and would give it every support. Where page 13 practical—that is, running month after month—will run the eight hours. In point of fact, it was carried out at present. We start at eight in the morning, and work until six o'clock at night, and out of that we have one hour for meals. On Saturday we knock off at half-past four. Mr. Christie then explained how the men were treated as regards holidays, and full and slack time, showing conclusively that the system was already in operation at his mill.