Biographical / Historical
This fragmentary collection of records of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Carpenters’ Union relates to the period in which much effort was made to re-unite Auckland carpenters with the national union, from which they had been separated in 1949.
During late 1948 and early 1949 the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Carpenters and Joiners and Joiners’ Machinists Union, led by the Communist Roy Stanley, were involved in an industrial dispute over payment for travelling time and basic wage rates. In February 1949 the Union instigated a go-slow against employees who cut travelling time allowances or failed to pay the minimum wage carpenters felt they were entitled to. This resulted in a
lock out by employees and by the beginning of March 1949 between 1500 and 2000 carpenters had been
locked out by employees. On the 23 March the Minister of Labour intervened and deregistered the Carpenters’ Union within a 56-mile radius of the Auckland Central Post Office. At this time all records and assets of the Auckland Branch were transferred to the Hamilton Branch of the national union.
By late March the employers were supporting the establishment of a
scab union to cover the deregistered area. Although the Federation of Labour (FOL) conference passed a resolution pledging non-recognition of the new union, the Auckland Trades Council urged the men to join the new union. Then the Government forced the issue when it passed Clause 21 of the Finance Act, 1949 which limited an award to part of an industrial district. This clause deprived the carpenters within the 56-mile radius of the existing award without disturbing the rest of the Auckland provincial district. The men, therefore, had to join the registered
scab union in order to come under the award once again. This union was registered as the Auckland (56-mile radius) Carpenters and Joiners and Joiners’ Machinists Industrial Union of Workers.
During the late 1950’s efforts were made to incorporate the 56-mile radius union into the national organisation and on 30 January 1959, the national union and the Auckland union cancelled their registrations, and on the same day a new union was registered; the New Zealand (except Otago and Southland) Amalgamated Carpenters and Joiners and Joiners’ Machinists Industrial Union of Workers. In a further step towards unity in the building industry, this union’s registration was cancelled on 11 February 1960 and on the same day the New Zealand (except Otago and Southland) Carpenters, Joiners, Joiners Machinists and Plasterers and (except Auckland) Bricklayers and Related Trades Industrial Union of Workers was registered. In 1967 the union again changed its’ name to the more succinct New Zealand Carpenters and Related Trades Industrial Union of Workers.