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War Economy

Extended Hours of Work

Extended Hours of Work

Shortly after its appointment, the Commission, moved by the urgency of the overseas shipping shortage, made arrangements for page 400 work on Sundays and holidays, and for shift work. This increased the weekly hours for working ships from 68 to 140, and, with the measures to concentrate overseas shipping at the main ports, played a material part in reducing the average time spent by overseas vessels on the New Zealand coast. The reduction in ports of call was achieved mainly by transhipping to or from coastal vessels. For perishable cargoes, two small vessels with freezer holds had been made available by the British Ministry of War Transport for use between secondary and main ports.1

The introduction of co-operative contracting also lessened the time needed to handle vessels, by increasing rates of work per hour, although the improvement was considerably less than had been expected.

Coastal shipping had, by 1942, been considerably depleted by the requisitioning of vessels for naval use. With extra demands for transhipment of overseas cargoes and the need to move large quantities of coal and timber from the South Island to the North Island, coastal shipping became inadequate. To ease the pressure, the Commission, from June 1942, required all coastal vessels of over 350 tons net register to be worked continuously round the clock. These shift arrangements continued in full force until January 1944, when a reduction in hours was made.

The Commission, in May 1942, raised the guaranteed wage to £3 6s. per week in the ports of Auckland, Wellington and Lyttelton, but the guaranteed wage scheme was not extended to other ports.

1 Annual Report of Waterfront Control Commission, Parliamentary Paper H–45, 1945.