The Miners Are On Strike
28 June 1949 The Tumut and Adelong Times
Talks fail to avoid stoppage great industrial dislocation will result.
A general strike began on the coalfields yesterday, which will lead to the greatest industrial dislocation in Australia's history.
A desperate, last-minute bid at a conference, on Sunday to find a settlement formula to avert the stoppage.
The strike involves 23,000 mine workers in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.
It will also raise the number of unemployed in New South Wales to 450,000 by the end of this week.
This will mean a weekly wage loss of £3,600,000.
The miners are demanding a 35 hour week, an increase of 30/- a week in wages and long service leave and have rejected the course of arbitration and conciliation which is open to them to secure those benefits.
First impact of the coal strike on the public, will be a complete ban on the use of electric lights in the home.
Trams in Sydney and Newcastle may stop within a week or ten days.
In Tumut all employees of Dyomee Manufacturers (30 hands), Carson's box mill (50 bands), Tumut Saw millers (10) hands) and other smaller sawmills and industries have been stood down for the duration of the electricity restrictions.
Picture theatres in Tumut and Adelong will be closed down until the restrictions are lifted.
At Batlow the Packing House and Cannery are still in production whilst tho local picture theatre draws its power from the local hydro-scheme.
First priorities in both fuel and transport will be concentrated on:-
1 - Feeding the population.
2 - Basic health needs of the community.
Coal stocks frozen by the Coal Board in New South Wales will probably last about a month if they are used to provide only absolutely essential services to the general public.
Coal authorities said that it was too early to forecast how long the strike would last.
They said much would depend on the financial support the mining unions obtained from other unions.
The Miners' Federation is believed to have only limited strike funds.
A strike that lasted for more than a fortnight would find the organisation almost penniless.
It is doubtful whether the miners funds available for strike pay would exceed £50,000.
With about 18.000 miners to seek relief payments, that amount would not go far.
Miners will not be entitled to any Social Service benefits because they are on strike.
Miners' Federation rules provide that members must be on strike for a fortnight before they become entitled to strike pay.
Legislation empowering the Government to take over the control of food supplies, transport, power and essential services on a virtual war- time basis is expected to be passed by the Parliament.
The President of the Miners' Federation said in Sydney yesterday that the intervention of the Federal Government was the only means that the coal strike could be settled.
He said the strike would be over in five minutes if the Government convened a conference of the parties concerned in the dispute.
However, there is no change in the Government attitude which is that the miners must revert to Arbitration to settle their claims.
Recommendations for further cuts in electric power for submission to today's Cabinet meeting were prepared yesterday.
Country train services may be further curtailed.
There will he indefinite delays in the despatch and delivery of parcels through the post.