Collection Title: Merthyr Pioneer
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MerthyrTrades and Labour Council
MerthyrTrades and Labour Council. BUSY ANNUAL MEETING. I EXCELLENT PROGRESSIVE RECORDFORI PAraT YEAR. PRESENTATION TO PROMINENT RAIL- I WAYMAN UNIONIST. The first annual meeting of the re-organised Merthyr Borough Trades and Labour Council was held in Bentley's last Thursday. Speaking generally, the record of work that the officials had to lay before the delegates is one of steady progress, in many fields of Labour activity, and, in particular, was its work in connection with local admmlstJratIMl of a keen, intelligent and praiseworthy nature. The war, with its Munitions Act, enlistments and multi- plicity of bars to progress had held up the more important aspects of industrial work, but the spirit of the new Council is such, that when the time comes, no one can doubt that Merthyr Unionism will get all the lead and sup- port it wants on the Federation field. There was a full attendance of delegates when Mr. Bert Brobyn took the ohair for the last time. In his valedictory address Mr. Brobyn said that the new organisation had come into existence at a time when practical- ly all sections of the public were torn, if not with actual dissensions, at least with grave differences of opinion, but evidently there were no differences of opinion as to the organisation they had at present, to judge from the progress that had been made, and the success met with. Although the usual activities of the Trades Council had been prevented by the war —seeing that public money had to be used for the dtestruction of human life, rather than the preservation- they had been unable to do anything with regard to housing or having reference to the erection of the greatly- needed refuse destructor, and all such things as involved expenditure oj public mo- nies. Deputations from the Council had waited upon the local administrators on questions of Child Labour; the annexation of public rights- of-way, and matters relative to the health of the people, principally in connectipn with the scavenging of the Borough. Personally he ifoought the very best thanks of the Council were due to Coun. L. M. Jones for his efforts at the previous meeting of the Town Council to get the reinstating of a sanitary inspector for the lower portion of the tbwn. (Hear, hear. ) Matters of a more national character were the subject of emphatic declarations of opinion in such questions as OM-Age Pensions, which the Council felt ought to be increased in order that the aged peor might be enabled to live outside the workhouse, and another resolu- tion they had adopted unanimously expressed their antagonism to any form of Compulsory Military Service. If that resolution was not to be so many empty words, it was up to them to take the matter in hand urgently. In matters of or- In matters of organisation he had been de- puted by them to assist the Organiser of the Amalgamated Mucicians' Union to organise the local performers, and he wsfc pleased to say that the result had been that practically eveif man employed in the Borough was now a Trades Unionist, and the places of amusement recognised the Union rate and conditions of labour. (Hear, hear.) He was pleased to find a number of new societies coming into the Coun- cil because it augured vteU for the future, and in conclusion, expressed tiae hope that the same spirit of comradeship would continue in the new Trades Council that had existed in the past, and commended the work of the Council to the merious attention of the new delegates, to "whom participation in the work, he was sure, would prove an education of great as- sistance to them in after life. He then vacated the chair, which was takftn by last year's Vice-Presidetft, Mr. Jibhn Wil- Iiams, In a brief speech, the new Chairman eaid that Mr. Brobyn had occupied the position he now filled and had conducted the business in a, manner which was of a very high order. Mr. Brobyn had been a tremendous success as chair- man, and he himself was very doubtful whether he would be able to conduct the business with the same despatck as had been dealt with during the year. He had great pleasure in moving that the best thanks of the Council be accorded to the retiring President for his ser- vices during the past year. Mr J. hj. Jones (N.U.R.), seconding, said that Mr. Brobyn had not only done his duty as chairman, but he had also very successfully represented the Council on various delegations, and he thought that it would be difficult for any ehairmaji to improve on what Mr. Brobyn had done. The vote was carried with acclamation. Mr. W. Harris then presented his arfciual report, as Secretary, as follows: i The war has kept the mainly industrial questions in the background. Practically the only industrial questions have centred around disputes connected with the anomalous position of the M.E.A., together with a ghostly smith anop in Dowlais, and a few turncocks doing plumbers work a special and unnecessary ex ample of the dilution of Labour. in the work connected with Local Govern- ment, the Council has figured more in the picture than the Board of Guardians. This is perhaps owing to the class of work or perhaps owing to the unfortunate position that the public, including the Trades Unionists, do not pay the attention which is due to the very important work of the Board of Guardians. With regard to the Municipal Body, the auuovvmg important questions" have been dis- cussed during the year: Education. Attendance, Bov Labour. Health.-Refuse Destructor, "Mothers' Clinics. and Hospital, and, of course, the usual ques- tion of scavenging. Generad.-Rightr.-of-way (Duffryn), foot- j paths, bad roads, and coal contracts- Three deputations have been before the Lo- cal Authority—two before the Council and one before the Education Committee. In each case the deputation has been received courteously, and, I believe, have achieved the obiect desired. I may add here that as Secretary of this body I have been treated with the utmost respect by the Council officials whenever" occasion arose that I should communicate with them by letter or personal interview. The following questions have been discussed relating to the Board of Guardians: Old Age Pensions, Maintenance, Auditor, Infirmary (Haley's Case), and the Case of Annie Summer- bell. Monthly reports have been given by Coun- cillors L. M. Jones, Francis, Griffiths, Parry, Pedlar and Wilson; and by Guardians T. T. Jenkins, Harry Evans, Sam Thomas and S. Morgan. 'd h Healthy discussions have arisen, and the best of spirit has been maintained. One thing is quite clear: that this Council is not out to tie our representatives to a narrow path, but is out quite fankly to assist the Labour representatives, to carry out the ideas which make for a co-operative commonwealth. During the year we held two special meet- ings, one on the Hospital question, and one to receive Mr. E. P. Wake as a deputation from the Union of Democratic Control. As a result of this latter we affiliated with the U.D.C. With reference to the Hospital question, I sug- gest that all delegates should buy the new La- bour Year Book, and, perhaps, then we can have another attempt at solving the Hospital question. A sub-committee was appointed to deal with this question, but on the advice of some mem- bers of the Executive Board of the Hospital, a meeting has not been called yet. I suggest bringing up the subject before you as soon as you have all digested the important informa- tion on Hospitals which gan be gleaned from the Labour Year Book. Owing to the War, an important committee was appointed to deal with the local increases in rents. It is thoroughly representative, and has met once. It has already been the means of doing good work. Several increases in Peny- darren and Dowlais have met with refusal to pay. We hal%-e not yet done away with the evil, as I heair that there are some more cases at Penydarren. I must ask delegates to take their information to their ward representative. When he reports the cases the committee will meet to deal with same. In an important mat- ter like this we must have authentic informa- tion. My main object during the year has been to get all the Unions inside, and to make the ma- chine run smoothly. I have enjoyed the work. I suppose it is because it coincides with the ideals we are all striving for. The report is not what I should like it to be, but I shall strive during the year to make it possible to get a better report next year, a very ea.iy mat- ter if all the delegates will take their share of the responsibilities. After all, the chief work is not here, but in the Ascussions in the different lodges; the more discussion in the lodges the better it will be for the Trades Council, for the cause of Labour and for the future common weal. The number of societies affiliated for 1915, continued Mr. Harris, was 23, and the non- affiliated eligible societies totalled 14; of these, seven societies had joined during the present month for 1916; namely, the Merthyr Vale Miners, the National Union of Clerks, the Dow- lais Shop Assistants, the Merthyr Shop Assist- ants, the Dowlais Wagon Builders, the Troed- yrhiw I.L.P., and the Merthyr Vale and Troed- yrhiw Assurance Agents. Every society out- side of the Council, he emphasised, was a source of weakness, not alone to itself, but to the Trades Councl and to the whole of organised labour, and it behoved all who were attached to use every endeavour to strive for the unification of local trades unionism through the Trades, Council. In this connection be read the follow- ing letter he had received from Mr. James Keir Hardie, our late M.P,. and which so eloquently Hardiwe, ith the point that he was so desirious of making: — 10 Nevill'g Court, London, E.C., March 4, 191-5. William Harris, Esq., 16 King Edward Villas, Merthyr Tydfil, Glam. Dear Hak-ris,-V- earty congratulations on the good progress which the Trades Council is mak- ing. It is only by united effort that the differ- ent trades and occupations are ever likely to be able to exercise their full strength. The great lesson which the working class has to learn is that progress is not to be sectored by each sepa- rate trade or calling acting independently of the others, but by all trades, callings, profes- sions and occupations binding themselves ta- gether to achieve objects which are common to all. Only thus cam poverty be finally abol- ished, and the emancipation of Labour be brought ahout.Yours faithfully, J. KEIR HARDIE." In conclusion, he made the following quota- tion from a publication of the Guild Socialists Movement: Hitherto Trade Unionism has been content to concentrate its energies in certain indus- tries, certain trades, or certain places. Whole sections of workers have been left practically untouched; the worst paid districts have often been abondoned to their fate. The result of this is that nine million workers are still left to be organised. If these are to be brought in, it is certain that the work of organisation can no longer be left to individual Trade Unions: the movement as a whole must see to, and pay for, the elimination of the blackleg. Instead of a thousand petty organising cam- paigns, often in competition one with another, there must be one great organising campaign, centrally controlled and directed. Such a cam paign can only be conducted through the Trades Councils, and a revival of the Trades Council movement is essential to its success.. Where Trade Unionism has succeeded in mak- ing itself more or less blackleg-proof already, the reasons are clear. Success has come either to a highly skilled craft—in which case it has often been won at the expense of other sections —or to a Union that is in its essential features industrial. The Boilermakers are an example of the first style, the Miners of the second. But it is not enough to concentrate on par- ticular crafts, or even on particular industries:' what is needed is an all-embracing Unionism, and this can only be achieved by the united action of the Trade Union movement." When this has been accomplished, when the workers are united in their organisations, and inspired by a common purpose, the wage system will be doomed, and the man machine of Oapi, talism will become a free man, in a, free aoid full Co-operative Commonwealth. Mr. T. J. Evans, in his report as Financial Secretary, said that in their reports the late chairman and the secretary had dealt with the work of the Council in the past, the present, and the future, and the report that he had to present dealt with that which made the work 1 possible. There was transferred from the old, Trades Council a sum of 4/5, and affiliation fees from the 23 societies had brought in L233 10s. 2d., and the total receipts included a col- lecti. on amounting to £ 5 10s. 2 £ d. at the Hardie Memorial Meeting, making an aggregate of £ 239 12s. 3|d. On the expenditure side the maintenance of councillors accounted for R49 5s. 83d., and Guardians cost the Council R36 7s. 9d., mak- ing the total cost of labour representation R85 13s. 5 £ d. The Labour Party affiliation fee on a membership of 6,000 accounted for R25. The total expenditure amounted to JE156 Is. Id., leaving a balance ef £ 83 lis. 2!d. in hand, of which £78 2s. 9d. was in the bank, and -65 8s. 5 £ d. in the Treasurer's hands. The war had adversely affected the Trades Council's finances, as it had affected almost everything else in the country. For instance, the membership of the various unions affiliated had been considerably reduced because of en- listments, and he thought it was safe to say that at least a thousand had gone from the Merthyr and Dowlais mmers alone-. That thou- sand would have meant zC37 10s. in affilia- tiea fees alone. Other societies had also suf- fered in membership, many througli enlistments and many, especially in the building trades, because of the departures from the district owing to the fact that they could not obtain work. Nor were there many hopes of improvement in the year 1916. The position seemed to him as though it was exactly the same from the affiliation fee point of view. and the only way in whtch they could expect an increase in the fees wa.s by the affiliation of those societies which had not as yet come in. From the expenditure point of view the year had not been a normal one. The Council did not commence the work in earnest until March, whereas with the year they were just entering upon they would have the full 12 months to look forward to. Then again, very unfortu- nately. Councillor Dai Davies, of Pant, had been lying seriously ill for the better portion of thai time, so that his absence from his pub- lie duties had meant a sorresponding reduction on the expenditure for local representation. Again, they had not to meet the expendi- ture 011 registration during 1915. For just as the work commenced they were informed that no new register was to be issued, and the cost was only t2 7s. 9d., whereas had the work gone forward he anticipated that the cost would not have been under £ 15. Nor was this expenditure likely to be incurred during the yea.r they were just entering upon. The average cost of their local representation had been I;') per month for Councillors, and 10/9 for Guardians. In conclusion, Mr. Evans expressed his appreciation of the courtesy which he had invariably received from the officials of the various unions with whom he had been in communication. Mr. W. Jones the first auditor to the new Trades Council, a fact of which he is proud in presenting his report, said that the first year had been a great success, and the next year. so far as he was able to see, was going to im- prove on the year that had gone. It had been a pleasant surprise to find on going through the books that they had finished the year with t83 in hand, and that was the first year, when many items oeOurred that would not be regularly recurrent. He expressed great regret at the severe loss to local and national Trades Unionism by the death of Mr. James Ke)¡'1 Hardie, and concluded by offering his warmest congratulations and thanks to the Financial Secretary of the Council and all the other officials of the Council for the excellent way, in which they had carried out their work. The meeting then proceeded to the election of offioers. There were six candidates for the post of Vice-President, but three of them with- drew—Mr. Enoch Jones, Dowlais Miners; Mr. d r w M r. Enoc h Jones, J. Adkins, Plasterers; and Mr. J. E. Jones, N.U.R.; and the candidates who sought elec- tion were Mr Sam Jennings, Dowlais I.L.P., Mr. Abraham Carter, and Mr. David Davies (Merthyr Miliars). The result of the voting was the election of Mr. Sam JonningSs to the post. Mr, W. Harris was re-elected without opposi- tion to the post of General Secretary, but Mr. T. J. Evans' .Financial Secretaryship was con- tested unsuccessfully by Mr. J. E. Jones, N.U.R. Mr. D. R. Jones was the only nominee for tie post of Junior Auditor, anil he was duly elected. It was originally intended to elect the two representatives to the Labour Party in March, when the serving members will retire, but this was ultimately vetoed, and three names were submitted for the two posts—Messrs. J. E. Jones, Enoch Jones, and Bert Brobyn. The first two were ultimately elected to take up their duties as from March. The Executive Committee was constituted ae follows —Messrs. Eynon Hughes (Treharris) Divenal and Tom Thomas (Merthyr Vale Miners), D. Davies and J. Davies (Merthyr Miners), Enoch Jones and W. Jones (Dowlais Miners), Griff Lloyd a.nd Evan J. Davies (Dow- lais Steelworkers),J E. Jones (National Union of Railway mem), D. Reee (Dowlais Shop Assist- ants), Sain&bury (Merthyr Shop Assistants), D. Thomas (Assurance Agents), B. Brobyn (Merthyr I.L.P.), and Webber (Troedyrhiw I.L.P.), It was agreed to have two positions to be filled by societies affiliating later. The meeting then proceeded to the amend ment of rules. Mr. J. E. Jones moved, OR behalf of tht-e N.U.R., that the words" who are eligible for affiliation to the Labour Party" should be deleted troti the rule gov- erning the qualifications of a society seeking affiliation. In bringing forward the proposal, Mr. Jones reminded the meeting that at the last Bristol Congress the delegates had re- affirmed their 1906—07 resolutions ag- ainst Craft Unionism, after a very warm dis- cussion and heated words. It was not his inten- tion to engender that spirit that evening, but he was concerned with the methods adopted by the N.U.R., which had determined, that come what might, it would not compromise its principle of organisation by industry as op- posed to craft unionism. A difficulty had arisen between the craft unions and the N.U.R. over this matter, for while the craft unions claimed the sole right to organise shopmen, the N. U .R. stood firm on its policy of one industry one union. And in this matter the miners' were in exactly the same position as the N.U.R. for they atlso were intent on organisation by industry. Efforts had been made to press forward that resolution of the Trades Union Congress, which, were they successful, must mean the severance of the N.U.R., with its huge organisation and three Labour Members, and the miners also, he took it, from the Lab- our Party-a course that could but be detri- mental to the best interests of organised Lab- our nationally. The rules of the Trades Council laid it down as a condition of affilia- tion that any body seekinQ: affili:¡"in m.+, hA eligible for affiliation to the Labour Party. If the Joint Board that had this matter in hand decided that the resolution 8f the Bristol Congress should be upheld, then the N.U.R. ceased to be an eligible body of the Labour Party, and, he took it, their affiliation to the Trades Council would cease automatically. His branch was one of the pioneer branches in the Merthyr Trades Council years ago and thev had taken, a lively interest in its work right up to the present-day Council, which thev had worked strenuously to call into being, and they felt that to break away from the Council would be detrimental to all con- cerned locally. The only solution to the diffi- culty was the deletion of these words from the rule, which he felt should be wiped away in the best interests of the Council. The un- derlying principle was that the Merthyr N. U .R. desired to remain as active workers in the Trades Council whatever happened na- tionally. Mr. Idris Davies, on the instruction of his lodge, seconded the resolution. The miners, he emphasised, were in exactly the same position as the railway men so far as the pirnoiple was concerned, and he disagreed with Mr. Jones when he said that the probability was that the miners could remain affiliated with the Labour Party in perpetuity, since a complaint had to be lodged before the resolution was enforced, No complaint had been lodged as yet, but he was positive it was coming, fertile National Enginemen and Stokers had been down investi- gating the charges made against the miners, that they were organising by industry, and he was certain that those investigations were the preliminary to the lodging of a complaint in Congress. Mr. B. Brobyn was not III s-ymprabhy wIth the deletion of the words, though he had every sympathy with the reasons advanced by the movell: and seconder of the resolution. With out those qualifying words any traders society or organisation could apply for affiliation ifo the Trades Council. He was not very much con- cerned with the breaking of the rules of the Trades Union Congress, but he did feel that the retention of the words reminded, them that thev were out for the benefit of the working olas6 in general. As a representative of the I.L.P., he realised that there was a strong probab., ility that at the next Labour Party Conference the I.L.P. would be thrown out, but so far as the railwaymen and miners were concerned, he could not conceive it possible that they would be in any way affected, for the simple reason that the Trades Union Con- gress dared not throw out two such powerful organisatioms as these. It was utterly impo&. sible, and, therefore, to his mind, it was pre- mature to delete these wofrds which were of such vital importance to the constitution of the Connsiil. Mr. J. Adkins (Plasterers) also opposed, be- cause he felt that it was absolutely necessary that there should be some condition answered by societies seeking affiliation to the Council. There was another important reason, too- and that centred arom?d ?iat important an hjjrge section of their work which concerned itself with the running of Labour Candidates for local governing bodies and Parliament. Was the Council going; to allow anyone who was not affiliated to the Labour Party to say whom they were to run as Labour candidates? Mr. E. J. Davien (Engineers) opposed be- cause lie also felt that the clausfe should be left in the rules to govern the acceptance of societies into the Council, and because he felt with Mr. Brobyn that the gplit of the Miners and the Railwaymen from the Labour Party was an impossibility, and that the anomaly created by the Bristol resolution would be wiped out in the neaar future. Mr. E. Williams, supporting the motion, trusted that the intelligence of the Council would be above allowing any traders' organisa- tion to come in. The clause was definitely det- rim ental and should be wiped out. The gagac- ity of the Council was surely suffiCIent guaran- tee of the affiliation of only the societies that were entitled by their nature and constitution for affiliation. Coun. Francis, though sympathetic to orga- nisation by industry, which he regarded as the next form that Trades Uninoism as a whole would take, regarded the resolution as a little4 premature. He felt that the matter should be left over until it had been dealt with by the national ooaies. I The Chairman: The rules stated that you can only amend or alter rules at the annual meeting. Coun. Francis: You have standing orders which can be suspended. The Chairman: No; that has been tried and failed. Mr. T. T. Jenkins moved as an amendmen that the discussion stand adjourned for six months., out this also the Chairman refused to accept on the previous ruling. Mr. J. E. Jones briefly replied to the points raised, and on being put to the meeting the motion to delete the words was carried by 34 votes to 13. Some discussion centred round the notice of the Castle Pit lodge to delete, the words from Rule 7 which prevented any Guardian or Councillor from holding any of' the offices of the Council, but eventually the disqualification was withdrawn. Three local lodges had sent in resolutions that the rate of pay for Councillors and Guar- dians should be revised, so as to increase the sum to the loss of time on the basis of the miners' day rates, but it was felt that a flat rate would better serve the purpose, and ulti- mately it was decided to fix the rate at 9/- per day. A resolution of the N.U.R., somewhat modi- fied, was carried, by which no new rules shall be made, and no existing rules amended, rescinded or altered except bv the annual meet- ing The Council had decided to make two presen- tations air the close of the annual meeting one to Mr. J. E. Jones, the Secretary of the late Trades Council, and one of the hardest workers past and present for the cause of Labour in the Borough, and the other to Councillor • David Davies (Pant), but the busi- ness had occupied such a long time that the presentation of a magnificent dressing case (suitably inscribed) to Mr. Jones had to be rushed through, while Coun. Davies was too ill to attend, and it was decided to leave,, the pre- sentation of the fine electro tea and coffee service over till next month, when it is hoped that lie will attend. The Chairman briefly outlined the decision to make the presentation to the two comrades and champions, and called upon the Secretary to make the presentation to Mr. Jones on be- half of the Council. Mr. W. Harris, in making the presentation, expressed the pleasure it gave him to perform that office, for he had known Mr. J. E. Jones for the last 15 years, and he wanted to say quite frankly, and without any sentimentality, that he had never met a better trades unionist in the whole of his career. (Cheers.) Mr. Jones stood very high in his estimation, and anyone who knew .Mr..Jon" work on the old Trades Council knew that he had accomplished excel- lent work under most awkward conditions. There was not a finer N.W.R. Secretary in the Kingdom, and not a finer branch in the N. U .R. than Merthyr—a fact largely due to the energy and ability with which Mr. Jones applied himself to his secretarial work. There was no need for soft speaking in connection with Mr. Jones, for the unanimity with which admirers and other organisations had come forward with contributions proved that his worth was well known and highly appreciated. (Cheers. ) Mr. J. E. Jones, in tendering his hearty blanks for the way in which his colleagues had that night rewarded his work, thought that the Secretary had rather over-coloured the picture. (" No!") But he could say honestly that he had always endeavoured to o-ive of his best in connection with the TradesColuliell movement, in which he had worked for so many years now. When he had taken over the work as Financial Secretary to the old Gounod, they had been liable for a sum of £ 80, but by levies they had been able t. wipe out this deficit, and if it was felt at thO time that he hindered many project*, it should be remembered that he had to do it to safeguard the position of the Council in awk- ward times. (Hear, hear.) His connection with -trades Unionism -carried him back 25 yeai s, and his interest in it lie attributed to his association as a youngster with two of the stalwarts of the past generation is the Labour world. Ooun. Francis added a few words of good- will and pleasure that the work of so strenu- ous a worker had been so recognised, as it had that night. Both presents, which were splendid in quality and finish, were supplied by the Co-operativlit Wholesale Society.
r"-II II II II DOWLAIS SO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY, Limited.) 16, 17, 18, and 19, Union Street, Dowlais. DRAPERY DEPT. j j I We are now showing a Lare Assortment of New Goods for the I. ? coming Season:- I I* Household Linen. Blankets. Quilts. Sheets. | j Carpets and Rugs. I B m?)????t???
Lunatic Asylum Subjects
Lunatic Asylum Subjects. MERTHYR STIPENDIARY ON BAD SPECU- LATIONS. In nning Elizabeth Vaughan, a single we- man zei, or 11 days, on two charges of stealing py dockets and obtaining sunns of £ 1 1? 8d, and ?1 10s. 5d,, the property of George Harding and J. E. Spencer, at the Dowlais- Cardiff Colliery on Saturday week the Sti- pendiary (Mr. R. A. Griffith) at Abercynon Police Court on Thursday week said: "There .v week said: "'T h ei-e are hundreds of thousands of people in this country who have made bad speculations and who are not in a lunatic asylum, whereas perhaps they ought to be. If this woman is one of these, there is a great deal of method about her madness." The evidence was to the effect that defendant took the dockets from young children and drew the money, keeping back a part of it. Only 3d. of the money was now not accounted for. Mr. T. W. Lewis, "Pontypriddappeared for defendant, and said that she had inherited jBSOO from a man three years ago, and had lost all, and this had, no doubt, affected her mind. She emphatically denied any intention to steal the money.
J. ■ 11 » PRINTING SENT TO PRIVATE COMPANIES means Profit for Individual Owners. When WE do your work, the Profit comes in the PROPAGATION OF SOCIALISM AND TRADES UNIONISM. TV/ink it Over!