Collection Title: Merthyr Pioneer
Institution: The National Library of Wales
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LESSONS OF THE WAR! W. C. Anderson. IW See Page 7 -'1
ANOTHER BLUNDER! By Tom Smith. See Page 3
COAL FIELD PEACE
COAL FIELD PEACE. NEW AGREEMENT ACCEPTED. FULL DETAILS OF NEGOTIATIONS. Aft,ei- a strenuous week, in which the South Wales Miners Federation representatives have fought tooth and nail against the interested opposition of the coal owners, backed by the Government. Peace has been assured by a. sup- plemental agreement, that concedes practically all the demands of the men. Had the settle- ment not been come to, a "down tools" policy would at the moment have been operative throughout the coalfield. Indeed, in the Rhon- dda and Garw. the men came out pending the completion of the settlement. and there was only an intensification in degree of what was felt by all the miners throughout the vallies. However, all have accepted the decision, and peace is restored. THE WORK IN LONDON. I The principal episodes in the negotiations j during the week may be put thus:- A conference took place at the Board of Trade Offices on Saturday between Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Walter Runciman, and a deputa- tion of the South Wales Miners' Federation, concerning the various outstanding points con- nected with the new agreement. The deputa- tion consisted of Messrs. James Winstone (pre- sident), T. Richards. M.P. (secretary). Vernon Hartshorn, George Barker; and Evan Thomas, assistant secretary. Mr. Arthur Henderson was not present at the conference, as he was engaged elsewhere. The two important matters outstanding were: (1) The question of the application of Mr. Runciman's recent award on the bonus time to night men in the coalfields. (2) The date to which the probable wages ad- vances under the new agreement should be made retrospective. The proceedings. which were private through out. commenced at noon and concluded for the day shortly after 1.30 p.m. It. was announced immediately afterwards that Mr. Runciman and Mr. Lloyd George had sent an invitation to the South Wales coal ow- ners to attend a conference on Monday. That decision wa-s taken as the most hopeful indica- tion in the situation, but it was not reached until ne oT"si(le"able discussion had occurred on the miners' claim. Monday's Proceedings in London. I A tentative agreement was reported on Mon- day to have been reached as a result of confe- rences between Mr. Runciman and Mr. Lloyd George and the representatives of the South coalowTier* and tb,' m:ners It was re- pot ted tnat the owners ti'ad .\>ns>ented lc tiie extension of the bonus turn to all classes of night workers, but a telegram late in the eve- ning announced tltnt a fresh difficulty had ari- sen in finally approving the tentative agree- ment. and that a further conference was being called for Tuesday at the Board of Trade at 10 o'clock. This upset the Tuesday s massed con- con of the men's delegates at Cardiff, as will be touched upon hereafter. The Position in the Field. I Hut to return from London to the coalfields. The period has been marked by a growing re- sentment. and in some districts. notably the Abertillery district, the "down tools" policy was forced on the men, by the action of the surface men and stokers, who justly resented their exclusion from the settlement on Mr. Runciman's Award. The whole of the valleys were seething with discontent and the ex- pression at all the mass meetings over the week end was favourable to drastic action. The wiser counsels of the leaders, however, for the most part prevailed. The Cambrian Combine Meeting. If we take one meeting as typical of all, we shali have a good view of the situation as it was considered by the men in their district conferences over the week-end. If we select the crowded meeting of the Cambrian Combine, held in the Skating Hink. Tonypandy, on Sat- urday a fternoon, and presided over by Mr. John Hughes, we shall have an accurate sur- vey of the whole field. In the first place, Mr. Tom Smith and Mr. Noah Ablett, two of the Executive members, reported at length on the position in the coalfield, and following what was more a reasoned expression of resentment rather than discussion, the following resoJu- tior was unanimously adopted as the wj,?est? course to he pursued at the immediate mo- m,ent That tli Is meeting. while protesting against the action of Mr. Runciman in exclu- ding certain members of the Federation from the benefits originally granted under the ag- reement, recommends to the lodges that work should be continued until the conference which is to be held on Tuesday, and that if no sat is- factory settlk-iiieiit il arrivecl at by Tuesday's conference, then the lodges are recommended to ask their delegates to rote for a down tools" policy." Universal Feeling of the Men. That was the general feeling of the districts, and with one exception might be said to be the universal resolution accepted by the men and that exception was the omission, on the part of some districts of the final definite clause recommending a "down tools" policy failing a settlement on Tuesday. We do not desire to be misunderstood. Every lodge in every dis- trict was in favour of the "down tools" policy; some said so in their mass meeting resolutions others did not. The feeling was universal, and so was the expectation of a strike failing a sat- isfactory settlement. The Cardiff Conference. This brins? us. then, to the delegate Confe-I rence at Cardiff on Tuesday. Following pt,.ec-ed-I ent. the chosen representatives of the men ] gathered together at 10.30. but, unlike the us- ual Cardiff gatherings, there was no one to meet them. for it was announced that the Executive Council, which had been sitting since 9 o'clock, was still engaged. After about a three-quarters-of-an hour wait, a delegate arose, and paid he thought it was time the Conference got to business. and said that he and his friends were of opinion that the best course to adopt was to adjourn until 2 o'clock, so as to give the Executive an opportunity to complete their business. This provoked a discussion, several members favouring the ad- journment, and others believing that the bet- ter course was to send a message to the Exe- cutive to see if they had anything to report. The outcome wa? that the meeting decided to send Mr. Harris, one of the registration ag- ents. to the 'phone to get on to the Executive, but before he could return the Executive Coun- cil themselves entered the hall, and the busi- ness was immediately proceeded with. In the first place it was pointed out by one of the Executive members that Coun. Enoch Morrell had been asked to preside over the delibera- tions oi the Executive Committee that morn- ing, and the Committee had agreed to ask Con feren oe to agree to his occupying the same position at the larger gathering. This was at once agreed to, and Coun. Morrell. taking the chair, apologised for the delay in starting the meeting, and stated that there was practically no business to" lay before the Conference until they had received the following telegram: — Parliament St., London. 8.25 a.m. Bate- man. 22 St. Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff. Meeting Ministers again 10 o'clock to-day. Desire Council meet to-night 7 and recom- mend the adjournment of conference to 10.30 Wednesday. Deputation unanimous that no resolution be passed before they re- port.—Richards. The Need for Loyalty. I 1 roceedmg. Mr. Morrelr advocated that with loyalty to the deputation they had sent to London, the wisest course that couJd be adop- ted was to adjurn the meeting until 10.30 on Wednesday, in aecoi dance with the request conveyed in the telegram, when they would be able to receive the report of the deputation to London. Several delegates rose, and said that they had received mandates from their lodges to vote for a "down tools" policy if the points in dispute were not conceded that day. and one delegate definitely moved 'that the miners should "down tools" on Wednesday, inasmuch as the agreement had not been concluded. Thu was immediately seconded. but again Mr. Mor- rell pleaded that in loyalty to their own deputation of five in London. the best course was to adopt the recommendation contained in the telegram — to adjourn the conference until the following morning, and ask the coalfield to continue wor- king. pending the report from the deputation. Why Abertillery Struck. I Here a delegate rose, and condemned the Ab- ertillery men for having come out on strike af- ter a resolution of conference condemning these local actions. A delegate from Abertillery, however, obtained permission to explain the action of his district, and said that the ma- jority of the engineineu, stokers sand surface craftsmen in the di-'+rict were :n) nibei-s of the S. W .M.F.. and liiat when they found that Mr. Runciman. in his award, had excluded them from the benefits of the bonus turn, they intimated to the lodge committees that what- e\;cj the other members were going to do they were going to strike as a protest against such exclusion. The delegate further explained that if the miners had continued to work, it wOlJid have been under blackleg labour. such as clerks, colliery officials and others and that they had therefore decided to remain loyal to this section of their own membership. Another delegate stated that though the pit in which he was engaged was not situated in the Abertillery district, still it, derived its elec- tric power from an Abertillery colliery. and that they were therefore In exactly the same position as the Abertillery underground work- ers. They. too, objected to working under blackleg labour, and !ii(I fallen into line with the Abertillery men. Moreover, he conceived that tl ere was a real danger in working under this labour, since there was a distinct possibil- ity of the mnchinerv being worked by clcrk and colliery officials who knew nothing what- ever about- mat hinery. That was a serious pha.se of the question quite apart from the blackleg labour. Several delegates declared that their mand- ates for a "down tools" policy definitely ap- plied to that day's conference, and they strongly favoured the adoption of such a pol- icv. but the Chairman. before putting the 'natter to a vote, further emphasised the wis- dom of abiding loyally by the deputation they had sent to London at the present, juncture. The matter was then put to the vote, when it was found on the show of hands that the vot- ing was very closc. A card vote was demanded and on being taken it showed 1,214 in favour of the recommendations contained in the tele- gram. 1.128 for a, "down tools" policy, giving a total majority en the card vote of 116 for the recommendation to adjourn Conference, and continue at work. Merthyr District's Distinguished Visitor. The same evening the various districts met in mass meetings to receive the reports of their delegates. At Merthyr the two de]egate Mr. Idris Davies and Mr. John Williams, cx-I plained that the Agent would not be able to attend, owing to the request, to rema.in in Cardiff, and presented the report of the day's proceedings to a. crowded meeting of pit work- ers, presided over by Mr. D. Davies, in the Theatre Royal. The outcome of the meeting was a decision to abide bv Conference decision. At the conclusion of the business relative to Conference, Miss Sylvia Pankhurst was in- troduced to the meeting by the Chairman, who explained that Miss S) lvia was down to ga- ther first-hand evidence of the miners, their conditions and objects and not to rely on the capitalist press for her view of the dispute. Miss Pankhurst. who was accorded a hearty reception, made a very eloquent speech, in the course of which she mentioned the work that her organisation was doing in the East. End of London in defence of the lives and in* tercsts of the poor. She dealt with the low wages in the East End. and the sweating conditions under which women were forced to work all over the country. She further dealt with the increased prices of food and necessi- ties of life as it affected these poor women. and incidentally mentioned that several old people who were receiving the Old Age Pension had been compelled to go into the workhouse, because the present pension was far too low to allow them to maintain themselves outside. Mr. 1. Davies. moving a vote of thanks to Hw; Pankhurst. expressed his appreciation of M is'S Sylvia's labours amongst the poorer classes. Miss Sylvia Pankhurst had shown her- self a true Democrat by her action in coming down to South Wales to see for herself how the miner worked and lived. Mr. Ben Davies expressed the pleasure it gave him in seconding, and the meeting show- ed its appreciation of her visit and speech by its applause. It was then decided to adjourn the meeting until Wednesday night, and the meeting dis- persed. I THURSDAY'S CONFERENCE AND SETTLEMENT. The delegates re-assembled at Cory Hall, Cardiff, on Wednesdav, when Mi-. J. Winstone took the chair, and in opening the meeting declared that he vftis not there with the in- tention of making a long speech. and he would content himself with setting out a short report of the happenings ot the past few days, and the proceedings since the last Conference. At the last Conference it had been decided to accept the agreement, which had been arrived at between Mi-. Lloyd George, Mr. Runciman and Mr. A. Henderson on behalf of the Gov- ernment and the Executive Committee acting on behalf of the men. In the agreement was contained a number or mino" details left for settlement between the owners and the men. Some of these were settled, and those on which the men and owners were at variance were ag- ain placed before Mr. Runciman. When that gentleman gave h's award it was found that he had excluded from the agreement a large body of workmen who were previously includ- ed. They at once asked Mr. Runciman for an interview, but his reply in a letter was that the terms must .stand. The men's reply was a deputation to London by the first train avail- able. and on Saturday last Mr. Runciman and Mr. Lloyd George were seen. They were not received very enthusiastically by any means, but at least they were received and after a 3 days' struggle they had succeeded in getting what they were after, and that morning he felt on good terms with his own conscience, for after all he was the man with whom he would have to live and die. He then read to the men the supplemental agreement the two clauses in which were. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the con- trary in the principal agreement contained, all eiigineinen, pumpmen, stokers, banksmen and workmen engaged on the mechanical staff who work on the afternoon and night shifts shall be paid a bonus turn as and from the 22nd day of July, 1915. Such bonus turn shall mean payment for one extra shift per week to all workmen of the classes named who work a complete week of 5 shifts. Provided that where a turn is lost in any working week. and the loss is not due to the absence oi the workman or to the inability oi the workman himself to proceed with the work he shall be paid at a proportionate rate for the turns worked by him in that week. An accident in coiinectioii with a work- man's employment shall not be a bar to his benefit by the bonus tirn, and he shall be paid at a proportionate rate for the turns worked by him in that week. At collieries where the conditions of pay- went of afternoon and night men have been more favourable than those set out above, these conditions shall continue. (2) Except as herein expressly varied the principal agreement shall remain in full force and virtue. After the Chairman had stated that the Exe- cutive had unanimously recommended the sup- plementary terms, he threw the conference open for discussion. Several questions were asked, but most of them had been answered at previous conferences, and the proceedings were marked by the absence of any discussion from the delegates. The terms were then submit- ted to the Conference for its acceptance, and an amendment was moved that the collieries should stand idle until the agreement was signed. This was seconded, but on being put to the meeting only a few voted in its favour. and the terms were accepted practically unani- mously. The terms were accepted at mass meetings held at the -various districts in the evening, at which the delegates presented their reports. and this (Thursday) morning work was resum- pd. In Mid-Rhondda the meeting was pro- tracted owing to a strong feeling that the col- lieries should be kept idle until + ke agreement had been actually signed, but this was over- come by the leaders, who spoke strongly in fa- vour of the common policy of working through- out the coalfields. At the Merthyr meeting the Agent (Mr. John Williams) spoke of the victory gained. and urged the claims of Co-operation for the pur- pose of organising the spending side of the wages they had had to work so hard to pro- tect. Pressure on, our space prevents us dea- ling with this point further, but we will give a, fuller account, of Mr. William?' remarks on Co-operation in our next issue.
Labour Meeting at Aberaman i t
Labour Meeting at Aberaman. i t I THE "LABOUR LEADER RAID. A Labour meeting at the Square. Aberaman, was largely attended on Monday evening. The arrangements were made by the members of the Aberdare I.L.P. Mr. R. C. Wallhead. of the National Ad- ministrative Council, gave a. convincing address on "The War and the Worker." Mr. G. Ed- wards presided. The lecturer condemned in no measured terms the recent- raid on the nremises of the Labour it Manchester and London. He said the Stipendiary Magistrate had found that the "Labour Lender" had not hindered recruiting. He claimed that there was no justifiable ground for such a prosecution, when Lord Northcliffe's organs, which had openly dared the Government and military authority, were left in peace. Proceeding, the speaker briefly touched upon the coal crisis, and said the only remedy was State ownership and control. Tho capitalists had taken advantage of a national calamity to exploit the public. 0
ITrade Union Notes
I Trade Union Notes. I By TRADE UNIONIST. I There can be no mistaking the resentment felt by the South Wales miners over the Run- ciman Award. Mass meetings were held last Sunday all over the coalfield. where expression was given to this feeling, and resolutions pass- ed protesting strongly against it, and, further, to stop work if redress was not forthcoming. Tlit real cause of this feeling of resentment is not over the disappointment occasioned by Mr. Runciman in deciding against the men on so many of the points submitted to him. but lies in the fact that he went out of his way to over-ride and reverse the decision of Julv 21. which stated clearly that all colliery workmen engaged on afternoon and night shifts were to participate in the benefits of the bonus turn. In declaring that engmemen. banksmen, sto- kers. etc.. were not, to participate, he went against his own previous decision, and that when the matter had not been referred to him at all. The S.W.M.F. Executive have been kept very busy during last week, and it must have I proved an anxious time for then in handling I the delicate situation. The deputation to Lon- don had a difficult task before them. viz.. to convince Mr. Runciman and his colleagues of the Cabinet that his decision was contrary to one of the foundation terms which induced the men to return to work after the last stop- page. However, we icarn from to-day's papers that a way out of the difficultv has been found —not by Mr. Runciman admitting that he was in the wrong—but by a supplemental agree- ment. The S.W.M.F. Executive have unani- mously agreed to recommend Tuesday's ad- journed Conference (Wednesday) to accept these terms, and they confidently assume that th;ir recommendations will be accepted. Ac- cording to this supplemental agreement. al- though the original award remains unaltered, the enginemen and stokers, etc., are to re- ceive th^bonus rnrn upon the same terms as other participants of the benefit, while, as re- gards the advance in wages, a compromise has been effected whereby the advance is to be made retrospective to August 21. a month la- ter than the date demanded by the men. The Government cannot be complimented on the way they have handled the miners' dis- pute in South Wales. When we consider the importance of the South Wales commodity in relative to the war, one would have thought that Ministers would be verv careful not to have a stoppage. Yet a serious strike was al- lowed to take place in July; the Government threatened the Munitions Act that was of no avail. Then they arranged terms which proved acceptable to the men, and every one thought that the trouble was over. But Mr. Runci- man nearly precpita-ted another stoppage by a decision upon a point not referred to him for decision at all. • Mr. Asquitii received a deputation from the Northumberland Coalowners' Association and the M.F.G.B. for his interpretation of the war bonus decision in the Northumberland Coalfield. The dispute arose over a difference of opinion as to whether the war bonus shall be paid as an addition to the fixed maximum wage. The men held that they were entitled to the whole of the increase over and above the maximum, but Mr. Asquith has decided ag- ainst them. It is reported that there is keen disappointment felt by the men over this deci- sion. but they are helpless to resist, inasmuch as the Premier's decision was to be final. This incident again emphasises the need for a clear and unmistakable understanding of conces- sions made by employers, either directly or through Government, before final acceptance. Many of these concessions have a habit of vanishing soon after acceptance by the men concerned. A National Conference of the coal mining industry has been called for Thursday, Sep- tember 2, to consider the output of coal. and to consider whether there is any necessity to suspend the Eight Hours Act. I have previous- ly expressed the opinion that nothing will be gained by such suspension. It has been tried and not found successful. The output was not increased; both owners and men confessed the failure. It will fail again, if tried, I am sure the extremely arduous nature of a col- lier's work, and the concentration of mind re- quired, bring about physical exhaustion even before the eight hours arc up. The Scottish Miners have secured an in- crease of 61 per cent, in their wages, which is equivalent to 3d. a day. the day's wages be- ing thereby raised to 8/6. • • • The engineers and skilled mechanics in Wool- wich Arsenal have, through arbitration, been granted an increase "f 4 í on time rates and 10 per cent. on piece rates the advance to be made retrospective to last April. Thousands of mechanics are affected. It. is good to learn that all the English and Scottish railway companies have agreed that the employment of women on their systems is an emergency provision arising entirely out of the war. The women are to be dispensed with after the war. or as soon after the war as they can conveniently be dismissed. Meanwhile they are to reecive the minimum for the several grades in which they are employed. There is much unrest in South Wales rail- way circles. The increased cost of living is bearing severely upon the railway workmen. At a recently held private meeting of the South Wales N.U.R. branches, it was decided to instruct their Executive to terminate the agreement with the railway companies which was arranged at the outbreak of war and to i insist upon putting the National Programme into operation. The men allege as a reason for such action the failure of the Government to control prices of commodities. And a very good reason, too- Failing national action, permis- sion is asked for the movement to be proceed- ed with in South Wale-. where the cost of liv- ing is in excess of that of other parts of the country.
THE PIONEER 10000 SHILLINGS FUND
THE PIONEER 10,000 SHILLINGS FUND. I THE DEMOCRATlSATlON OF THE WORLD. Much has been heard in the valleys during tilu past week of the urgency of the need for the democratisation of the foreign policy of our nation: and anent that we desire to again point- out the importance of a Labour newspa- per press, representing the real aims and ob- jects of Democracy in the task of democratisa- tion of anything from a municipal playground to our august and anctocratic Foreign Office. ewspapers are said to be the real voice of the people; but how often are thev r How often have your views been accurately reflected in the papers of this dl.%triet How seldom? would be a better way of putting it. Yet these are the organs by which alone the workers and thinkers in the proletarian progressive move- ments can link up themselves with the move- ments in other towns and districts. Think. vou who have in the Pioneer an opportun- ity of keeping in touch with the movement throughout South Wales, what would happen if our paper did not exist. Your views would be distorted in any way the owners and coiiti ols of the capitalist press to which you would be forced to subscribe desired: you might rave and gnash your teeth, but, that would not matter. A perverted imitation of your views would be sent forth as your rea- soned views and you would have to submit. In your own press, owned and controlled, that cannot happen. Does it matter to you that the processes of democratisation should be spread; that the ideal of a bigger and brighter future sho-uld for ever be held before the people and th,, road to its practical realisation pointed out. If it does, then it is your task to help spread the influence of the paper, and as an isolated individual you may do that in many ways. You must talk about the paper; give your old copies to non-readers see that your newsagent displays our bills; push the matter in your organisations; and. above all. and most important of all at the moment, you must subscribe to our funds either by a dona- tion to the Shilling Fund. or by taking up a snare or shares in the company. It is worth while. Think it over. Share Capital. £ s. d, Already Acknowledged 230 16 0 Received this w('e k 2 8 8 R(-(.eived this NN-cek 2 S 8 10,000 Shilling Fund. £283 S s. d. Already Acknowledged 1 164 9 Bargoed I.L.P. Branch, per R. Arrow- smith .v. '] O Wm. Rees, Tumbk 1 0 Mr. Illtyd Hopkin?.???;?'? 5 0 1,186 3
Cwmaman Colliery Prosecution
Cwmaman Colliery Prosecution. Daniel Rees Jones, a eollier. employed at the Cwmaman Colliery, was summoned at Ab- erdare on Wednesday ior a breach of the Mines Act by not setting sprags at the speci- fieri intervals m his coal face.—Mr. Wm. Ken- sliole prosecuted, and explained that the maxi- mum distance allowed between sprags under the Act was 6ft. This was varied by notice of taj management in the present instance to 5 it. In the present case the manager, fireman, and mines inspector found overhanging coal for a lateral distance of 21ft. The overhanging was for 2ft. 6in., and the thickness 1ft. When spoken to by the manager. defendant said he had just knocked out two sprags which were found lying in the face. Even if these had been used, there remained a defieiencv of two sprags. as four were required under tile piece of coa l. "Win. Jones, the manager, bore out the soli- citor's statement. David George Williams, the fireman, testi- fied that there were two sprags placed under the coal that morning. A fine of 26/- or 14 days was imposed.
I. Temperance Hall. Inere is a difficulty about writing of amuse- ments in any satisfactory way, because am- usements depend to such a large extent on the atmosphere of the moment; and in attempting to reproduce this c nc- is unintentionally leci to exaggeration where none is intended. lake this week at the Temperance Hall, if I was to write as I feel I should be charged with exaggeration. Maybe it was that I was in the right humour, but it is a. fact that I have not enjoyed a show so well as this week's since the .six week or so that I first visited the little the- atre by the station. I have always enjoyed the pantomimic, and I, therefore, thoroughly enjoyed the antics of those ludicruous comedy tumblers, Briff Braff and Broff. It is marvel- lous how real artiste* can work humour into so momentary a thing as a tumble. and the Three Bs are artistes all over. Then there is Matthew Boulton and Co. in that rich comedv episode. "His Rest Day." It is one of those delightful things that sets one a-laughing and then a-thinking which all good sketches should do. Harry Keystone, that prince of mi- mics. does Charlie Chaplin to the life. Elles and Carlton have a splendid singing and dane- mg entertainment. Ivy Stephens. the prettv golden star, scintillates as only she can: the Marquiz de Gonza and Lady present a comedy speciality that is decidedly novel: Carelo. the foot equilibrist, is another all-the-way enjoy- able artiste, and the Welsh Bees uphold our national reputation as harmony duettists. Next week we are to have Nixon Grev. that new great comedian of "Zig-Zag Path"c fame; those great trick cyclists. The Adams Trio: the Mysterious Kidd, singer and dancer those fa- vourite musical comedians. The Slaters: the Granville Trio, whose well-known extravagan- za. "Before the Ball. is admitted to be one of the best things in musical comedy Gray and White, the two talkative tale-tellers: and the marvellous equilibrists. fdlJ". de Vola and Rex niai-ve I lou.,? eqtil l l b rigts. I PLAYGOER.