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With startling suddenness the ferry services ot Sydney, with the exception of the Manly service, were thrown idle yesterday. Some 230 members of the Firemen and Deckhands' Union decided to cease work, and tens of thousands of people had to suffer.

There was a vague rumour on Thursday that a strike was likely, but very few people heard of it, and the news that the ferry boats were not running yesterday morning caused con- sternation, particularly on the northern side of

the harbour.

The following is the list of ferry services which were suspended:-

Milson's Point.

Lavender Bay and McMahon's Point.   Mosman.  

Neutral Bay.   Cremorne.  

Balmain (Darling-street).  

Balmain (Stephens-street).   Parramatta River.   Lane Cove River.   Watson's Bay.  

Balmoral and The Spit.  

For some time past a wages board, of   which Mr. H. E. Manning is chairman, has been sitting to consider the claims of the Firemen and Deckhands' Union for increased pay and shorter hours, and the reason given for the strike is the delay that has taken place. Though the men are asking for in- creased pay, it is chiefly a reduction in their working hours to 48 a week that they seek.

Mr. Manning, the chairman of the wages   board, was greatly surprised when he heard of the strike. The evidence and addres- ses in the case only concluded on Tues- day last, and on Thursday the board pro- ceeded to consider its award. "The whole of the members of the board were in com- plete accord," said Mr. Manning yesterday, "and there was no sign of any discontent, apart from the contentious matter of the

claims themselves."

Even the secretary of the Firemen and Deckhands' Union, when it was mentioned on Thursday that rumours of a strike had been heard, disclaimed all knowledge of such a course being contemplated. The same day the secretary left for Newcastle.

It would seem that the arrangements for this strike were commenced and concluded after 4.30 on Thursday.

The men, instead of going to work as usual, held a meeting about 6 o'clock yesterday morning, on the green at Dawes Point, and appointed a deputation to wait on the em- ployers and present an ultimatum. Their demands must be acceded to at once, or they would go out on strike. And, according to Mr. Todd, manager of the Sydney Ferries, Ltd., the demands actually exceeded those made before the wages board-an extraordi-

nary position.

The deputation seems to have been expec- ted by the companies, and the representa- tives of the men were met without much de- lay. But there was no surrender. The men were informed that they must wait for the wages board award. The men refused.

It is stated, that the youthful element in the union predominated, and declared for

"a holiday."

Mr. Carmichael, Minister for Labour and Industry, was soon on the scene, trying to bring about a settlement, but it was all in vain. The companies were willing to agree

to the wages board award being made retro- spective to January 1 last, but even this was not enough. A week's holiday every year was offered the men. An offer was also made to pay them for a whole day's work if they went back to work yesterday afternoon. Nothing could shift them from their determination. They wanted a guarantee there and then of higher wages and a reduction of their working

hours to 48 a week.

The Minister's efforts were all to no pur- pose. With the gas strike fresh in his mind, with the southern mining strike still on, and with this new strike-three big strikes fol- lowing so closely upon one another-Mr. Carmichael is the hardest-worked and most worried man in the State Ministry. And he

looks it.

It was fortunate that the day was a general holiday and not an ordinary business day, as otherwise the dislocation of traffic between the city and North Shore would have been a

much more serious affair than it was. The seriousness of the determination will be more obvious to-day, if no settlement is arrived


The men on the Manly boats belong to an- other union-the Ferry and Tug Boat Em- ployees' Union-and were not informed of the intended strike. So it was that the service between Sydney and Manly was kept up dur- ing the day and night. Nevertheless, the Manly men proposed at one stage to go out in sympathy with the strikers, and it was only because of the fact that they had taken thou- sands of people to the marine suburb early in the day, before they were officially informed of the strike, and felt in honour bound to bring them back again, that they kept on.

But late last night it was stated that the men on the Manly boats will refuse work to-


The attitude of the owners is very deter- mined, and it is thought that an effort will be made to-day by the Sydney Ferries Company to resume the service between Circular Quay and Milson's Point. All the companies af- fected have large supplies of coal on hand.

The masters and engineers held a meet- ing yesterday, and after intimated to the ferry companies that they would not be prepared to work the boats with non-union labour.

The offer made yesterday by the Sydney Ferries, Ltd., to the employees will remain open to-day. The manager of the Watson's Bay Company states that so far as his com- pany is concerned the offer referred to yes-

terday only.

Mr. Todd, manager of the Sydney Ferries, Ltd., stated last night that it the claims made by the men before the wages board were granted it would mean an increase of £10,000 to his company, between £4000 and £5000 to the Balmain New Ferry Company, and £700 to the Watson's Bay Company.

If, on top of it, the masters and engineers claimed a corresponding increase, the cost to the companies would be doubled.

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