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Fremantk Lumpers Out. SHIPPING LYING IDLE.
MEN OFFERED WORK » , REFUSE. VOLUNTEERS ON THE MINDEROO. PROVIDE SIGNAL FOR CESSATION. EIGHT OCEAN-GOING VESSELS AFFECTED.
The industrial spark of unrest at Fremantle burst into a conflagration a little after 8 o'clock this morning, when approximately S00 lumpers ceased work. -
At 7.45 the men began to congregate at the usual picking-up spot at the C. Y. O'Connor Memorial, at the foot of Cliff -street. The representatives of the companies then approached them in the usual way, but they re fused work 'for the loading of the Minderoo. As announced yesterday, the agents had given the men until 8 o'clock this. morning to decide whe ther they would load the vessel with flour for Singapore, and immediately it was known that they refused to work, the threat to load with volunteer labor was put into, effect The volunteers were allowed to commence operations, but almost as soon as they had re moved their coats the whole of the lumpers on the wharves * left their work.
It was evident from the demeanor of the men at the picking-up point that they were 'not, only not going to work the. Minderoo, but lhat something else would happen if any attempt was jnade to work the vessel with volun teer labor. Therefore the sudden ces sation of operations did not come as a surprise. Evidently every man knew .what would be expected of him once the signal was given that t*ie vol unteers had commenced work, for they streamed off the. wharves in a body.. The men at work on the. col- lier Lammeroo, lying at the 'North Wharf, were only a few minutes later than their fellow-workers on the shore side!. They, came across in the ferries, and there was some cheering as they landed. For the most part, however, the men were undemonstrative, and quietly proceeded to the town,- and thence to the Trades i Hal'u where a mass meeting was subsequnetly to be held. They filled in the time waiting by singing songs and discussing tho position. At the Minderoo a few spectators had gathered to watch developments. About 15 minutes after 8, when it was reported that the lumpers had refused to work, a small squad of workers, perhaps a score or more strong, peel ed off their . coats, rolled up their sleeves, and commenced operations. They set to work with a will, and al though amateurs, they quickly began to reduce. the stocks of flour lying in trucks alongside the vessel. Several of the volunteers were boys. Few, if any, of the Jumpers approached to see what was going on, and the volunteers were allowed to proceed without any semblance of demonstration. There was some speculation as to what would happen when the first ral»~ of trucks had been Unloaded, as it had been said that the railway- men would refuse to shift any further trucks to the vessel's side. There was no ground for the rumor, however, for when the first lot had been disposed of, another rake of trucks was shunted alongside.1 There were also rumors along the water front that an attempt was to 'be made to mdiicft the crews of the vessels affected to leave their ships. It is probable that this is no idle threat, especially re garding those crews to which Freman tle is the home' port. In the case of the Zealand ia, however, little danger Is anticipated, 'for the home port is Sydney, and the men have, it is under stood, all signed on for the trip. . ? The following vessels are now lying Idje at the Port: — Zealandia, Bambra, Kwinana, Charon, Nordic, Lammeroo, and Kurnalpi, while the Minderoo ' is being worked by volunteers. Work on all these vessels was. in full eswing at. 5 minutes past 8: Half-an-hour later the derricks hung idle, and the pliaryes were practically deserted. It Is understood that the men engaged on the Kurnalpi stopped to close down the hatches, but that on other vessels, they simply walked off, and left every thing just as it was. Judging from the remarks- of .the men, they have commenced the fight in a spirit of determination. Obvi ously they are relying on the support, of the unionists of the State to help them, should any attempt, -be made -to introduce outside labor. The railways were freely mentioned in the discus sions this morning. When the secre tary of the Lumpers' Union (Mr. Frank Rowe) was seen about 10 o'clock, he said he had nothing whatever to saj regarding the position. The men would meet later in the morning, and ho did not know what step3 would be taken. . It is considered ' certain that requests will 'be made to other unions, and to the crews of certain vessels, and that this morning's .cessation i is only the 'beginning of an industrial up .heaval that will extend through jut the State]
A special posse of police was on duly on . the wharves this morning, includ ing a numh'er'of plain clothes men from the city. Police officers were station ed at each end of the shed, where the Minderoo was loading, to protect the volunteers, but, as already stated, thejr were not subjected u- any inte-'.erence whatever. The Commissioner of Po lice, paid a visit to tho Port, and In spectors M'Kenna and Sellingor were also on the wharves. The mornins was warm, and the. vol- unteers soon be?an to show the effects or their self-impose 1 task4. .Several of the- shipping agents were' approached, but they declined. 'to make any state ments then. Ono :?' them simply re marked, in reply to a query, 'That's the position. You can a*i the volun teers at woric; the o:ners have left the ships.' .-Snother remarked that they were going to sian-1 F-rm '.vita the Government The .end no --.me attempts ,to forecast The only thing certain now is that the fr.sl-.c has begun, and the Federal Government, ,» 'in the .State Government, is looial to to defeat the men who have cbrovn ihz whole 'f Austrah'a into a-i ^mos: unparalleled mclrstrial upheava! at a time when their own kith and kind axe fighting and dying on the battlefields of France and elsewhere, and when the combined efforts of the -people are . necessary to defeat the common enemy. Nothing in any way sensational oc
curred on the wharves at Fremantle .to-day after the lumpers ceased work. Tho men spent their time at the Trades Hall or in the streets until about 12.30, when they began to col lect at the quay at Cliff-street, the 'picking-up' place where gangs are collected to work the vessels that may bo in port.. ' As none of the companies' representatives appeared officially at the rendezvous, the men
waited, until a couple, of delegates 'worded' the men who were loading Ockerby and Co.'s flour aboard the Minderoo. Whether these delegates succeeded or not was not quite clear, and the men soon afterwards dis persed, it being alleged that their exe cutive was endeavoring to influence the railway and transport unions to refuse 'to handle any of Ockerby and Co.'s products, and possibly also to hang up all goods destined for the wharves until the incursions of non union men had ceased. The employei-s of labor . on the Wharves met in the Fremantle Cham ber of Commer.ce this morning, Mr. H. W. D. Shallard occuping the chair. What transpired could not be learned, each person present at tho meeting alleging, that he could not make any statement. Probably ' the -Minderoo will sail this evening, as little of the flour remained to be handled early in the afternoon. Whilst the men were assembled at Cliff-street just after noon Mr. Ockerby drove a car through them, and he was received, with a storm ofp hoots.