Story: Strikes and labour disputes

His Imperial Highness, Labour (1st of 2)

His Imperial Highness, Labour

The all-powerful figure of a Blackball miner with his helmet, pick-axe and bowyangs (ties around trouser legs) towers over Prime Minister Joseph Ward (kneeling, centre front). The success of the 1908 Blackball miners’ strike encouraged the individual miners’ unions to form a strong nationwide federation. This was joined by other unions such as the watersiders and labourers, and became the New Zealand Federation of Labour, known as the ‘Red Fed’. For some years the Red Fed unions were able to negotiate significant improvements to their working conditions, creating resentment among other sections of society.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Observer, 14 March 1908, p. 13 (N-P 1483-13)

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Mark Derby, 'Strikes and labour disputes - 1908 Blackball strike', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 16 April 2024)

Story by Mark Derby, published 11 Mar 2010, updated 1 Mar 2016