Lined up along the wharf to prevent cargo being loaded or unloaded, striking watersiders picket the Auckland waterfront during the 1890 maritime strike, the country’s first big nationwide industrial dispute. Together with seafarers and miners, the wharfies were supporting their Australian counterparts, who had gone on strike for the right to form unions. The strike spread across the Tasman when a major New Zealand employer, the Union Steam Ship Company, employed strike-breakers to load its ships in Australia. The army and mounted police were used to control pickets in New Zealand’s main ports.
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