March 1909: First Seamens' Contract

After years of wages cuts and failure to obtain the 8-hour day, several port unions came together in a federal body with officers and an Executive Council. That was important because, until then, employers could impose conditions port-by-port through a divide-and-conquer strategy.

On March 19th 1909, a deal was reached between the Union and the Commonwealth Steamship Owners Association. The agreement would be in placed through December 31st 1910.

The pay rates were set at £10 for donkeyman, £9 for a greaser or fireman, £8 for boatswain or A.B.-lamp-trimmer and £7 a month for A.B. or coaltrimmer. The 8-hour day in port was established but workers could be required to work overtime for 1 shilling an hour.

Manning disputes would be decided by a committee of three representatives from the Association and three representatives from the Union.