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HARVESTER  STRIKE

Extract

MR JUDKINS  CONDEMNATION

    In the course of a lecture on “The Christ Spirit in Industrialism” at Wesley Church yesterday afternoon,  Mr WH Judkins began by showing how, in the earlier days of capital and labour, the employers had used the coercion of starvation to sweat and ill-treat their employees.  That was all happily over, but there was  a danger that coercion and tyranny were still extant - the coercion of the union.  A few days ago one of the leading members of the workers workers’ party had given advice to the harvester strikers. Because it did not fit in with the mood of the moment he was called a traitor. The Labour men talked of the glorious brotherhood of man. That was quite right. But what did their organisation say? “If  a man won’t join the union, duck him in the river, hide his tools, cut off his food supply, make his life hell on earth.  No means employed to bring about the success of the workers movement is immoral.”  That was the conception and definition of brotherhood and morality.  The doctrine of might was a doctrine of unreason.  The only reason brought forward for the coercion of the non-unionist was that he “shared  in the benefits obtained by the union.” True brotherhood  would be glad to see all men so sharing. (Applause)   The principle of the strike was  unchristian and unreasonable.  What a situation  had we reached  when labour and capital were so bitterly opposed.  Why should there be any antagonism? The Christ-spirit and true spirit of brotherhood were the only corrective.  On the part of the employer, good wages, good conditions of labour and good hours: and on the part of the employed, good work, the best work possible, and not a beggarly measuring out of labour, as was now unhappily the case. The bricklayers must not lay more than a certain amount of bricks. Was that the right spirit? Democracy might be made a movement which should mean brotherhood as well as only speaking of brotherhood, but there was a present danger that would degenerate into a mere wild struggle for self.
 
 

From  THE  ARGUS   13th March 1911   page 6

 

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