The Short-Time Movement [4 November 1856]

[Editor: A report on a meeting in favour of the Eight Hour Day Movement. Published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 November 1856.]

The Short-Time Movement.

A public meeting was held yesterday evening, at the School of Arts, Pitt-street, for the purpose of taking into consideration the desirability of forming a league to promote the establishment of a system of short hours of labour. The meeting was convened by the following advertisement:—

To the Working Men of Sydney and its Vicinity. — A public meeting of the trades favourable to the short-time principle, will be held in the hall of the School of Arts, on Monday evening next, November 3rd, 1856, for the purpose of taking into consideration the formation of a Labour League, for the establishment of the above principle. Chair to be taken at 7 o’clock. By order of the Masons and Carpenters’ Short-time Committee.

The meeting was numerously attended, the audience consisting of intelligent working men of various trades.

The chair was taken shortly after seven o’clock by Mr. Eves, who briefly opened the proceedings.

Mr. Rhodes, in moving the first resolution, spoke at some length, stating, in the course of his remarks in support of the system of eight hours’ labour, that he as a working man, would undertake to execute a job on the eight hours principle in the same time which another would require to perform it on the ten hours’ system. He moved “That in the opinion of this meeting, the establishment of the Eight Hours’ Principle among the working men of the colony would be beneficial to themselves and the community at large.”

Mr. Lambert seconded the resolution, which was put, and passed unanimously.

Mr. Pybus moved the second resolution, which was to the following effect:— “That in the opinion of this meeting, the disunited state of the working men of Sydney demands that we should form a Labour League for the protection of our interests.”

Mr. Thomas seconded the resolution, urging in support of the movement that one of the results of the eight-hour movement would be the promotion of temperance.

The resolution was carried unanimously.

Mr. Jones moved the third resolution:— “That this meeting pledges itself to support the Labour League in their endeavours to establish the Eight-Hour Movement.” He said the working men who were favourable to the movement did not seek to have two hours struck off their day’s labour, and be paid for it. On the contrary, they were prepared to pay for the two hours. He said he had never heard a good argument advanced against the principle of short hours of labour, and he thought that, on religious grounds as well as for other reasons, the movement was deserving of encouragement.

Mr. Rushton seconded the resolution, which was passed unanimously.

Mr. J. Dyer and Mr. Lowe (builder) addressed the meeting in support of the short-hour movement.

The following delegates were appointed from various trades to form the proposed league: Masons — Messrs. Brown, Gladdall, Sullivan, and Eves; Carpenters — Messrs. Rye, Fanks, Holland, and Barlow; Plasterers — Messrs. Thomas and Bevers; Bricklayers — Messrs. William Gains and George Smith.

A vote of thanks to the chairman, for his efficient conduct in the chair, was passed by acclamation, and the proceedings, which were throughout marked by good order, terminated about half-past ten o’clock.

The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 4 November 1856, p. 4

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