A Navvy's Plea – 1916

Worker Thursday 22 June 1916 p.16
A Navvy's Plea.

Dear "Worker," In this district the Industrial Court has ruled that 14s. a day is the Minimum wage for surface hands. This means, I take it, that the Court considers 14s. a living wage. Yet our Labor Government considers 10s 4d. and 11s. 3d. a day quite sufficient for a navvy, who does practically the same work, pick and shovel, surface work.

The railway employee must not get into debt either, or he may be dismissed. It may be argued that the navvy has privileges. Yes he has, but he pays for them. Considering the difference between 15s a day (surface men at Dolomite, Salmon mine get this) and 11s. 3d.. the navvy pays over £58 a year for his privileges, and these consist of six paid holidays equal to £3 7s. 6d. and a pass to the coast, which in nine cases out of ten is no use to him, because the wage in so inadequate that it leaves nothing to put by for pleasure.

My idea is that the Government should cut out the privileges and give us a living wage, the wage that rules in the district; the navvy will then be in a position to pay his way. I think it is high time that the Labor Government should pay their employees something nearer a living wage than what they are paying at present.

 A SWEATED NAVVY. Cloncurry.

No comments: