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Encyclopedia > Waihi miners' strike

The Waihi miners' strike was a major strike action in 1912 by gold miners in the New Zealand town of Waihi. It is widely regarded as the most significant industrial action in the history of New Zealand's labour movement. It resulted in one striker being killed, one of only two deaths in industrial actions in New Zealand. Open battle between striking teamsters armed with pipes and the police in the streets of Minneapolis, 1934. ... 1912 is a leap year starting on Monday. ... General Name, Symbol, Number Gold, Au, 79 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11 (IB), 6, d Density, Hardness 19. ... The El Chino Mine located near Silver City, New Mexico is an open-pit copper mine Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually (but not always) from an ore body, vein, or (coal) seam. ... Waihi is a town in the North Island of New Zealand. ... The labor movement (or labour movement) is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and political governments. ...

Contents

Origins

At the time of the strike, the labour movement in New Zealand was expanding rapidly. The New Zealand Federation of Labour (known as the "Red Fed"), which was linked to the Socialist Party, was gaining considerable support from the working class, and the Waihi Trade Union of Workers, to which many miners belonged, was part of the Federation. Disputes between the union and the large Waihi Goldmining Company were frequent. The term working class is used to denote a social class. ...


In May 1912, a number of stationary engine drivers who rejected the Federation of Labour's strong positions established a breakaway union. Although the Waihi Goldmining Company claimed to have no involvement in the breakaway union, saying that it was a matter of union politics, many workers believed that the Company was attempting to split the union, and called a strike. The local police chief reacted cautiously to the action, but Police Commissioner John Cullen ordered a strong response, dispatching additional police. Two months later, the conservative Reform Party came to power — the new Prime Minister, William Massey, declared that he would strongly oppose the "enemies of order". A stationary engine is an engine that does not move. ... The Reform Party was New Zealands second major political party, having been founded as a conservative response to the original Liberal Party. ... The Prime Minister of New Zealand is most senior officer in the Government of New Zealand. ... William Ferguson Massey (often known simply as Bill Massey) served as Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1912 to 1925, and was the founder of the Reform Party. ...


Confrontation

The police buildup in Waihi continued until an estimated ten percent of New Zealand's police force was present. Around sixty strikers were arrested and jailed. Anger among the strikers grew, and the Federation of Labour gradually began to lose control to even more radical groups, such as the Industrial Workers of the World organisation. The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies) is an international union headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. It contends that all workers should be united within a single union as a class and the profit system abolished. ...


In October, the Company was able to re-open the mine with non-union workers ("scabs"). The union workers reacted angrily, and the new workers were attacked with stones. Tensions between the union and non-union workers were very high — the union workers saw the newcomers as threatening their livelihoods and as being traitors to the working class, while many of the newcomers had little choice but to take what work they could find, and resented the attacks and condemnation. Scabs - Chicago Tribune strike, Chicago Illinois, 1986 Scab can refer to the following: The crust covering a healing wound as a result of Coagulation. ...


The violence gradually escalated, with union workers on one side and non-union workers and police on the other. The greatest level of violence came on 12 November, known as "Black Tuesday". A group of armed non-union workers and police attacked the union hall, which was defended by a small group of union workers (also armed). Thomas Johnston, a non-union worker who had come to the mines after his market garden in Auckland was bankrupted, was shot in the knee, and a police constable was shot in the stomach. The shots are believed to have been fired by Fred Evans, a radical unionist. Evans himself was beaten to the ground by the police, and later died of his injuries. Soon afterwards, the strikers broke ranks, with many fleeing Waihi altogether. Auckland, in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest urban area in New Zealand. ...


Aftermath

Evans was later held by the hardliners up as a hero and a martyr, with Bob Semple saying that Evans had been "doing his duty and should have shot more of them". Despite this, however, many people in the union movement actually moderated their positions after the strike — it had, after all, failed to achieve its goals. The strike also contributed to unity in the New Zealand labour movement — the Socialist Party, which had backed the strike, moved towards merger with the more moderate United Labour Party, which had not. The resultant Social Democratic Party later formed the basis of the modern Labour Party. Robert Semple (commonly known as Bob Semple, 1873 - 1955) was a union leader and later Minister of Public Works for the first Labour Government of New Zealand. ... The United Labour Party of New Zealand was an early left-wing political party. ... The Social Democratic Party of New Zealand was an early left-wing political party. ... Current Labour Party logo The New Zealand Labour Party formed as a political party in 1916, bringing together socialist groups advocating proportional representation and the Recall of Members of Parliament, as well as the nationalisation of production and of exchange. ...


External links

  • NZ History page (http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/Gallery/Waihi/Waihi.htm)
  • Waihi Museum (http://www.waihi.co.nz/arts/museum/default.htm)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Waihi miners' strike - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (635 words)
The Waihi miners' strike was a major strike action in 1912 by gold miners in the New Zealand town of Waihi.
Although the Waihi Goldmining Company claimed to have no involvement in the breakaway union, saying that it was a matter of union politics, many workers believed that the Company was attempting to split the union, and called a strike.
The police buildup in Waihi continued until an estimated ten percent of New Zealand's police force was present.
Waihi (93 words)
Waihi is a town in the North Island of New Zealand.
Waihi was a major centre of union unrest in New Zealand during the early years of the 20th century.
In 1912 a strike by miners led to violence in an incident which still causes some resentment in the town.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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