How Statesmen Settled a Strike – 1917

National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 - 1954)  Mon 27 Aug 1917  Page 2
Last week there was a railway strike in England. The men struck as a protest against long hours, wage sand general conditions. The British Government, which contains such statesman as Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. A. J. Balfour, Mr. W. Long, etc., did not call the strikers disloyalists or pro-Germans. It didn't even call them members of the I.W.W. Nor did the British Cabinet behave the autocrat.

The members didn't refuse to meet the men and listen to their side of the case; and certainly did not use the full powers under the Defence of the Realm Act to force men back to work under unjust conditions.

On the other hand the men were met in a conciliatory spirit by the president of the Board of Trade (Sir Albert Stanley) and the result was that the strike was over in a day or two with all parties satisfied. The action of the British Government saved England from much turmoil and the men from existing injustices.

In New South Wales they do things differently. The State Government, with a brutal majority flouts its own Arbitration Court (according to Mr. Justice Higgins) and endeavours to enforce a pernicious system on a body of men, who resent it.

The latter, by peaceful methods, fail to receive satisfaction and the outcome is the greatest strike in the history of the State. Then the State Government, after having committed what Dean Taibot describes as a gross breach of faith, set to work to force and starve the men into submission.

Mr. Fuller refuses to conciliate. He declines to meet the men in any sort of compromise. He, and the other members of the Cabinet, are prepared to sacrifice the State rather than compromise. Their method is force, not justice. They refuse to follow the English example and conciliate with the men.

But that is not surprising, No sane person would compare the statesmen of Britain with the "statesmen: of N.S.W. But it will cost the State a pretty penny before our politicians realise the great job they have undertaken.

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