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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Co-operative Labour on Public Works

Co-operative Labour on Public Works.

Impressed by the abuses shown to exist in England by contractors who sweat their workers, the Government of New Zealand have in the execution of public works dispensed with the contractor, and entrusted the carrying out of work to gangs of men under a system which is not altogether new to many private employers. The Government Engineer lays out the work and fixes the price to be paid, based on the amount of wages. The men then form themselves into gangs, in which it is alleged that the strong men join with the strong, while the weak unite with the weak, so that, although the page 22 latter may be longer in getting through their task, they are now excluded altogether from obtaining employment. The arbitration of the Engineer takes the place of the higgling of the market. Cow petition is altogether eliminated, and it is, of course, a question whether the State, thus depending entirely on the Government Agent's valuation, is getting its work done as cheaply as it might.