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Red Feds


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The members of the National Federation of Labour, an association of militant unions formed in 1909 in New Zealand. Never winning the support of a majority of the country's unionists, the Federation briefly became an important force because of the presence of strong unions, such as the miners, in its ranks. In 1912 confrontation between government and Red Feds occurred at the Waihi gold-mine, when a strike resulted in violence and one death before the miners accepted defeat. The United Federation of Labour was formed, which was soon involved in a bitter strike, centred on the Wellington docks and again the government intervened. Thousands of mounted police were recruited and there were violent clashes, but this strike was also broken. The Red Feds and their methods of confrontation were permanently discredited. Since then the New Zealand trade unions have worked amicably through a process of arbitration and a series of Acts were passed to amend the basic Industrial and Conciliation Arbitration Act of 1894.

Subjects: World History.


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