1900s >> 1908 >> no-42-february-1908

Go West—and Starve!

Latest information published by the Emigrants’ Information Office, 31, Broadway, Westminster, will not make satisfactory reading to those who thought of finding employment in our colonies during the next few months at least.

It is pointed out that a new regulation provides that all emigrants landing in Canada until February 15th, 1908, must possess 50 dols. at the time of landing, and all arriving between February 15th and April 1st, 1908, must possess 25 dols. They must in addition in every case have money for their inland railway fares, unless they can satisfy the emigration officers at the time of landing that they are going to already assured employment immediately on arrival or will be cared for by friends.

The demand for labour is over for the season. In parts of the eastern provinces the supply of labour is now more than sufficient, owing to the thousands of persons who emigrated to Canada last summer from Great Britain and the Continent, and to the recent arrival of large numbers of out-of-work mechanics and labourers from the United States in search of employment. No one, therefore, should go to Canada in search, of work during the winter. Persons wishing to go there should wait till April, but even then they should not start—especially those with, young families—unless they go to take up engagements, or have enough money to live on till they find employment.

In New South Wales there is a demand for hard ground miners, but not in the other States. In no part of Australia is there any pressing demand for mechanics, unless they are specially skilled; the best chances are for carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, and plasterers. Clerks, shop assistants, warehousemen, and professional persons are advised not to go to Australia, unless they have situations awaiting them. The cost of living has somewhat increased of late throughout Australia.

The Dominion of New Zealand grants reduced passages to approved farmers, agricultural labourers, shepherds, woodcutters, and men able to milk cows and manage live stock, who possess £25, and to female servants who will have £2 on landing. There is an excellent demand for all these classes. The local supply of mechanics is about equal to the demand, but skilled men would not have much difficulty in procuring work if they could keep themselves while searching ior it. There is a demand for female machinists and workers in the boot and clothing factories.

South Africa should be avoided by emigrants at the present time. In Cape Colony the supply of labour largely exceeds the demand, and mechanics of practically every trade experience extreme difficulty in obtaining employment. There is a steady diminution in the number of men employed in the building trades, and clerical work is quite unobtainable. All mechanics and others, therefore, are warned against going there now, unless they go out to situations engaged for them, or have means of their own sufficient to keep them for some months. The town council of Capetown has issued a warning to this effect, and in other parts of the colony, as Kimberley, East London, and Port Elizabeth, there is a number of cases of distress owing to the scarcity of work.

In Natal the supply of white labour considerably exceeds the demand. Many skilled married mechanics, such as masons, bricklayers, carpenters, painters, &c., and a few unskilled labourers, are being given work by the Peitermaritzburg Town Council at 4s. a day, which is the usual wages of coloured labourers, whose places they take.

No one would go to the Transvaal now in search of work. In view of the depressed state of the labour market there is only a very remote possibility of employment being obtainable, and, as the cost of subsistence is high, those having small means would speedily descend to a state of destitution. Over 500 white men are now being employed as an experiment on the drainage works at Johannesburg, earning 5s. to 6s., and in some cases 10s., a day. A similar experiment is being made on railways, and white men are being found to work at £5 per month as assistants to gangers, platelayers, &c.

Large numbers of men, especially carpenters, masons, bricklayers, and plasterers, have left the Transvaal through inability to obtain work there. The dispute in the printing trade has been compromised by the reduction of wages to £5 10s. a week in place of £5 15s. There is no demand whatever for the “handyman,” nor for shop assistants, and the number of clerks is excessive. There is a limited demand for female servants, the demand being mainly for house-parlour maids, cooks, and cook-generals.

Some assistance is given to female emigrants to the Orange River Colony. There is no demand whatever for anyone else, and many persons are out of work. Labouring work is done by Kaffirs. Miners and others should not go to Rhodesia at the present time, unless they have work guaranteed them.

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