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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 81

Stort-Lived Tiffs

Stort-Lived Tiffs.

In New Zealand I have no definite figures of the time of idleness, but it has not been more than a few days per man in thirteen years. No wonder English reviewers of our experience tell us that our strikes have been but short-lived tiffs, as compared with the long and desperate industrial struggles of Great Britain, where compulsory Arbitration has not yet arrived. But surely, most of us in connection with the work of our Arbitration Court fall into a very common error—that of measuring the importance of incidents a6 well as of individuals by the extent of their noisy obtrusion upon public notice—treating them as typical (which they are not), rather than freaks (which they are). It is a sample of this error which seems to induce some people, even editors (if one may include them without profanity), to treat the Act as a disabled and useless machine because a few short-lived strikes have taken place, and a few very noisy gentlemen have declared they will have none of it. But let us be just before we are censorious. Follow the career of the Court and the Act since their inception!—follow the Court's work to-day with a fair mind, and you will admit that it! has done, and is doing splendid work., discharging one of the most difficult tasks with fairness, ability and patience.'

I claim that the Act has done immense service in this country in the cause both of industrial peace and fair wages. That, it is capable of improvement (as I hope! to show), should not belittle that service.