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Thursday, 22 May 1930

Aid forStrikers.the spirit of eureka.

The annual conference of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Railways Union opened at Newcastle this morning.

Secretary's Report. " We meet now at a time most critical for railwaymen and the Australian Railways Union, because of the private employers' and Railways Commissioners' onslaught in all States on our hours and wages standards," said the report presented by the State secretary (Mr. E. A. Chapman), which, by a special suspension of standing orders, was given first place on the business-sheet. " In the past twelve months there had been a series of industrial struggles throughout the Commonwealth. The timber-workers' strike was the outstanding one. Judge Lukin, ' the ablestand most audacious legal preserver of capitalist privilege in this country,' had snatched from the timber-workers the 44-hour week that they had enjoyed for six and a half years. Judge Lukin's action was unconstitional, because the Full Court had directed him merely to interpret the hours clause, and given him no direction to amend or alter it in any way. But it was what employers' organizations throughout the country, banks, foreign financiers, and loan workers had been yearning for. Judge Lukin was the Arbitration Court leader for whom they had been praying. The timber- workers had decided on a strike as their final protest against the return of the 48-hour week. They would not have 48 hours. Nor would the railwayworkers. The maintenance of wages and hours standards and resistance to a reactionary Arbitration Court, which had assumed leadership for the employing class, were the issues that confronted the union movement. . . . "

President's Address. " The Australian council of the union," the State president (Mr. A. J. McAllister) added, " at its last meeting decided against the principle of arbitration, and with good cause the federal act had been so amended that the court had to take into consideration the ability of industry to maintain existing rates or to survive increased wages. The personnel of the Bench could be relied upon to apply the principles of the act with gusto. For this reason they had been appointed."

And on the 24th of the same month the Sydney Morning Herald reported as follows : -

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