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War Economy

Waterfront Work

Waterfront Work

All was not well on the waterfront when war broke out. Considerable dissatisfaction over wage rates was developing. The award granted by the Arbitration Court in 1937 had expired in June 1938 and there had been delays in obtaining a new award. By the beginning of 1939 criticism of wage rates had an edge of bitterness, with some inclination on the part of the men to show their feelings by go-slow tactics and the like. The existence of such tactics was strenuously denied by union officials, but there was a definite fall in the rate of output and in several instances men were removed from jobs because of alleged go-slow tactics. Differences widened, and the reaction of employers was to refuse to employ labour until some guarantee of good faith was given. The resulting losses of page 393 working time were designated strikes or lockouts according to individual sympathies.