Collection Title: Merthyr Pioneer
Institution: The National Library of Wales
Rights: The copyright status or ownership of this resource is unknown.
The Tribunals and Outrage ? ? ? SEE PAGE 7
The Indifference of the Working Class. SEE PAGE 2
I rade Union Notes
I rade Union Notes. By TRADE UNIONIST. The campaign against non-Unionists is in full swing in the Merthyr and Dowlais Dist- ricts of Miners. It was announced in the local dailies on Monday that, as a result of negotia- tions between Mr. W. Brace, M.P., and the Management, the notices, which are now run- ning have been suspended for 14 days. That, I understand is true of the Dowlais District, but quite erroneous as, fai- as the Merthyr dist- rict is concerned. We do not know what transpired between Mr. Brace and the P.'Ii D agemont on Sunday at their interview, but whatever transpired, Mi*. Brace had no au- thority to make any such arrangement as the one reported on behalf of the Merthyr Miners. Of a. certainty there will be. a stoppage of work at the. Cyfarthfa Collieries on Monday next, unless the pits are clear of non-Unionists. Mr. Brace is very anxious that there shall be no stoppage of work, and it was as a re- presentative of the .Government that he i D- terfered in this matter, and not as a miners' agent. The Government are in great need of coal they want all that can. be supplied, there- fore they are very anxious that all the col- lieries shall he kept steadily going. Well, the miners themselves are also anxious that there be no stoppage, just as anxious as the Government their patriotism and their family requirements forbid them, to desire any such thing: but they a.re determined that no one shall be allowed to jeopardise their economic condition as a class by refusing to bear their s l-i,,il-c, of the a i Tit-t n i n I share of the burden of maintaining the organ- isation that has done so much for them, and in which their hope for the future is centred. There are about 300 men. in the Cyfarthfa Col- lieries who are either non-unionists or out of compliance in the Federation, and they must be got rid of. Why should not the employers help the men to get rid of these disturbing pests? Person- ally, in ordinary times, I should deprecate ask- ing the employers to co-operate with the men in a matter of this kind. It is the men's own business, and to secure the co-operation of the employers would probably mean giving away some privilege as a quid pro quo; besides, the men ought to have sufficient self-respect not to seek the employer to do their work. But, in the present juncture, when the nation is en- gaged in a life or death struggle, when it is most essentia! that the output of coa] should not be in miry way curtailed or restricted, coal being on<»most important mnfsrs' of war, these objections could be waived arid an a-r- rangement come to between and em- ployed whereby stoppages on aer of non- unionists should be made ri is no promise of any such co-operation" Ih the pre- sent instance, however, and. as I stated before, a stoppage is almost n certainty next Monday at Cyfarthfa. iioxt Moii d a), The new independent cnairman of the South Wales Conciliation Boa.rd has heard the cases of both the S.W.M.F. (for an advance of 5 per cent.) and of the colliery owners (for a reduc- tion of 3$ per cent.) last week. He deferred his decision, which will be given in a few days. At the last monthly meeting of the Merthyr and District Trades and Labour Council are, solution fronl the Assurance Agents' Union asking for the co-operation of the Council to organise insurance agents was discussed. The mover of the resolution and several other speakers pointed out the difficulties they had to contend with in trying to organise these men. The most important one urged was that a large number of men take up insurance work because through ill-health or some other cause they have failed to work at the occupation they are accustomed, to. These men, it was urged, for the most. part only engaged in insurance work temporarily, until such time as their health was restored or other circumstances permitted them to return to their usual employment. There is undoubtedly a lot of truth in that statement, and one would naturally not expect to organise such men easily. But I am afraid that that of itself is not sufficient to account for the extremely disorganised state of insur- ance collectors as a class. After all, there are vei-v,- large numbers of men permanently en- gaged in this work, men who do not intend to leave it while they earn a livelihood at it. No, I think it will have to be admitted that as a class they are sublimely indifferent to their own interests, and are content to allow them- selves to be exploited by the rich—the extremely rich—companies who employ them. Why this indifference it is difficult to explain. As a body of men we know that they are, if anything, above the average man in intelligence. Mr. Sidney Webb, in his exhaustive report re in- surance, says that his investigations clearly es- tablishes the fact that for intelligence, probity, and industriousness they are well above th average. Then how are we to account for their remissness to Trades Unionism? I may be wrong, but I venture the opinion that, as a class, they like the shop assistants, clerks, and some others I could mention, have a strain of snobbery about them. Their profession is too respectable to require a Trade Union. The shop assistants and the clerks have lately shown unmistakably that they are casting off their snobbery, and are joining their union by the thousands. Let the insurance agents do the same, and thus make it possible to improve their conditions of employment. It must be a humiliating experience to these men to- see nearly all other classes of workmen securing advances of wages to meet to some extent the increased cost of living, while they them- selves have failed even to secure a. war bonus. Meanwhile, let all Trades Unionists see to it that the insurance collector who calls upon him is a member of the Union; failing that, let the collector be informed that no new busi- ness will be given him until he does become one. The Government Gonimittee whioh vras to advise upon the ways and means of effecting national economy have issued their report. Most I if not all readers of the Pioner" have read extracts from it in the daily papers, and have no doubt been surprised at the pettifogging proposals it contains; proposals which, while causing much irritation to those affected, will net affect any substantial saving whatever. In particular, the attention of Trades Unionists should be called to the proposal to raise the school commencing age for infants to 6 years of age. This suggestion, if acted upon. will not effect any considerable saving; while to a very large number of children, whose parents are amongst the very poor it will be a real hardship. The homes of a vast majority of these people are anything but ple-ctsazit-sordid- ness and misery always accompany poverty and to go to school is to these children a lux- ury. Moreover, from the point of view of the health of the children it is not desirable to act upon the suggestions. I think that- the Trades Unions should do all in. their power to prevent any such proposal being acted upon, inasmuch aa it adversely affects the parents and children of the poorer classes of the community. One of the things that most forcibly strikes the average man in connection with war econo- my is the dead-set that is being made upon elementary education. Nearly all bodies who have had anything to do in this direction (war saving) seem to look upon education as some- thing that can very well be dispensed with without any serious consequence to the national welfare. We have employers seeking to re- duce the school leaving age to T2; a Govern- ment Commission advocating the raising of the school beginning age to 6; we have local authorities anxious to apply such measures, and in addition they have in innumerable eases deliberately reduced their teaching staffs, and, of course, increased the mipibecr of scholars in the classes; they have engaged unqualified tea- chers, stinted supplies of school necessaries, and 'in short, have done everything, possible to cheapen, and at the same time, make less* ef- ficient the imparting of knowledge to the growing generation. The Trades Unions have a great opportunity here to prevent such mis- chievous Tand foolish measures being adopted. They should, through their representatives up- on local administrative bodies and in Parlia- ment insist upon economies being effected by some otl-uei- iiteipbodp. than starving education. The Government nave announced their intention of setting £ !2,000,000 apart for sett- ling disabled soldiers and sailors in agricultural colonies, and Sir H. llider Haggard has de- parted on a mission from the Colonial Insti- tute to find land in our Dominions. The Gov- erament have been much applauded for their "far-seeing" policy. It does not strike me, .however, a.s being in any way far-seeing." I have just been reading in the Cambridge Ma- gazine'' an. a.rticle upon this subject, wherein the writer maintains $iat the plan is a mis- take from the (1) military; (2) eugenic (3) economic; and (4) political point of view. On (I) the writer asks if it is wise for a large number of ex-soldiers to emigrate. He sug- gests that they should be kopt here to form a valuable reserve. Much of the land of Scotland could be acquired, and colonies es- tasblished upon such land, thus helping to re- populate the country, and our eastern counties could also be guarded in a suniiar way. It is not well to dispars.e our experienced soldiers in distant parts of the Empire instead of guarding the danger zone. (2) The emigration scheme will increase the male population in our Do- minions. He thinks that imperial eugenics should aim at a fairly equal distribution of the sexes throughout the Empire. (3) By means of intensive cultivation of the soil, by increasing the area. and utilising all waste lands, every acre in Great Britain and Ireland could ba made productive and home industries developed. (4) The political influence of our returned army will be important. Agricultural labourers and farmers' sons will not return to the sleepy vil- lages and vote Tory any more. They will be a valuable political force in favour of Liberal reforms, international friendship, and pacifism. He sums up by saying that a truly "far-seeing statesmanship" would keep our ex-service men at home. He advocates the adoption of the, progressive land laws of New Zealand, which provide for the compulsory -nurchase of large estates for closer settlement and the Ad- vances to Settlers and Workers Acts enable the State to provide each settler with the capi- tal to build a house and to develop the land. Since the Land for Settlement Act was passed in 1892 in New Zealand nearlv £ 7,000,000 have been spent in purchasing 1,500,000 acres; 4,637 houses have been built and the value of the improvements is more than £ 2,500,000 Tfeese facts, taken from the New Zealand Year Book, prove the great success of the scheme. A sane patriotism would devote capital to developing our own land, and so increase our food supply, and make it possible to support a much larger population at the heart of the Empire.
Welsh Coal ProfitsI
Welsh Coal Profits. I POWELL DUFFRYN COMPANY'S NEW I RECORD. In 1915 the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Com- pany (Limited) achieved a new record in profits, the amount disclosed, after allowing for excess profits duty and depreciation, being £ 438,800. As the directors do not show the depreciation or excess profits duty, it is impossible to give the gross, earnings in comparison with those of pre- vious years but it is evident that the total largely exceeds £ 500,000. The loss through en- listment of 26 per cent. of the miners reduced the output by about 400,000 tons, to 3,564.180 tons. The directors keep the dividend on the previous basis of 20 par cent., free of income- tax, and add £ 50,000 to the general reserve, while the undivided balance is increased from £ 116,116 to £ 120,236. The share capital is £ 1,805,624, while the assets total R3,216,296, including £ 52,539 in cash, L433,178 in War Loan, and L124,383 in French War Bonds.
I Gasworkers Increases
I Gasworkers' Increases. J MERTHYR NOW IN LINE WITH DISTRICT RATES. The trouble at the Merthyr Gasworks is, thanks largely to the good offices of Mr. Prat- ten, of Australia, and at present touring the South Wales Valleys, a thing of the past. The trouble, which had reached an. alarming stage, was all smoothed out at a round table confer- ence over which the Australian presided, last week. Besides the Cliaitiman -chare was pre- sent Mr. W. G.Ba,ta,ble for the Government; Mr. M. Giles (Swansea) and Mr .Syd Hall (Cardiff), together with Messrs. Thomas and O'Brian for the Workers' Union, and Mr. Kenshole for the company. Happily there was a conciliatory spirit in all that was done, and after a long sitting the men agreed to ( the following terms: -An increase of 7/6 a week for the stokers; the raising of the 22/- of the labourers to a minimum of 26/6 and 9-4 f maximum lamplighters from 22/- to a mini- mum of 27/6 and a maximum, of 29/ atad a [5 increase all round, for the other skilled workers. These bcrms will bring the Merthyr works into line, so as rates are concerned, with the general rate of the Smith Wales area. The agreement, which is to remain in force for 12 months, and them terminate by a months' notice firam either side, was signed by both parties, and last .Friday the men re- ceived the increase, together with three weeks' back pay. The men. are. unanimously agreed :ilf.. o the important part which Mr. Pratten played in the settlei&fcHnt, and their be-st thanks are offer- ed to him for his services in connection with the settlement of their troubles.
The Coming Work I
The Coming Work. I OPERAIIVE BRICKLAYERS' SOCIETY. I According to the rules of the above society the election of seven members as a district committee for Glamorgan and Monmouthshire must take place at the March quarterly meet- ing. Each branch has the right to nominate one candidate; and from the nominations re- ceived to date, great interest is being taken i-n the selection of the committee-men to be. A voting paper will be gven to every member of the society in the district, and he will select the seven lie wishes to be the District Committee. The seven receiving the highest vote in the district will be declared the District Committee. At the March quarterly meeting nomina-tions will be received for General Secretary, Orga- niser for the District, Candidate for Annual Movable General Council, Candidate for An- nual IJrade Union Congress, etc.; and in the June Quarterly Meeting the caxdidate receiv- ifig the highest vote will be the duly elected one. There is something yet for the great or- ganisations that are pushing organisation. by industry to learn even from a Craft Union, viz.. get their officials elected for a term of years, and not for life; their president's, gene- ral secretary, district secretary, organisers or agents, district and and executive committees nominated and elected by the i-ank and file. Much as one would desire to gee organisation by industry, one would and does hesitate to work for a system that. places men in the position to get "swelled heads" over their yondarful im- portance as leaders. The organisations that speak for industrial organisation must, to be a success, first of all set its own machinery in order, and men who prate against the smaller and Craft Unions must learn something from them; although out-of-date pctrhap; they still have very up-to-date Democratic Machinery, which these so-cailed leaders are afraid to put into operation. The Operative Bricklayers' Society a,Ð@ now arranging terms with the United Bricklayers' Society, Manchester Unity, towards amadgama- mation. We hope the results will be satisfact- ory why not try the Masons ? Bricklayers and Masons are amalgamated in Ireland? There are nine Unions in Great Britain (apart from Labourers) for the workers in brick and stone. Two of these Unions, the Masons and Plasterers, have united together; and the Masons and Bricklayers have also united. Why not unite the three trades for the whole of Great Bliia,inp The old District Committee for Glamorgan and Monmouth, and the Secre- tary's Committee before that, were out to fur- ther a laa-ger Union idea; and from the work they have had before them, one is more than ever eoncernad that the amalgamation of the Unions in the Building Trades will mean the salvation of the Trade. Let us hope the new committee will further the level rate for the trade throughout the district and South Wales, and procure one uniform code of working rules. The rates in some valleys ars still 9d. per hour, the highest rate is 1/- per hour, with 2/0 for wet days. Several branches have, in conjunction with other trades, put in for a rise of ld. 01: 2d. per hour. Some of them have had no rise for 15 year*, and with the price of food as it has been during those years, they hav been really working under a reduction in wages. How- ever. the South Wales and Mon. Building a. f fol- the Trades Federation will be lacking after the outlying districts, and aim!! at a levelling up process, not only in the matter of wages but in better sonditions. The Babour Movement canikot afford to, be sordid or mean. Its success depends upon its being inspired by a high ideal, a lofty pur- pose. a noble aim, not the aggrandisement of the selfish, but the enrichment of the race.
PROPAGANDA, NOT- PROFIT," is the motto of the Pioneer Press." If you are aliva to the tremendous social improve- ments that the Party the "Pioneer represents stands for. then it is your duty to ail that all your Trades Union, Co-operative, and General Printing comes to Williams' Square, Merthyr. the Home ef the Pioneer."
The Sanitation of Merthyr
The Sanitation of Merthyr. I iINSPECTOR APPOINTED, BUT RE-PLACE- MENT OF MR. OWEN DEFERRED. The Merthyr Borough Council Health Com- mittee on Wednesday night appointed a tempo- rary sanitary inspector for the lower district. It will be remembered by our readers that Coun. Lewis Morgan Jones has for some time been working strenuously for this, against a strong opposition who apparently thought that A- nancial economy came before public health in war time, and it is no doubt solely due to his efforts, backed to the fullest extentov his col- leagues of the Labour Group, that this matter has at last been cleared up. Unfortunately the death of Inspector Owen has to some extent nullified the appointment by leaving the sanitary inspection in the position it was be- fore the appointment was made; but the Lab- our section are determined that the appoint- ment of a successor to the Ijtte chief inspector shall be preceded with at the earliest possible moment, and steps were taken on Wednesday to introduce the matter. There were nine applicants for 1)1? temporary vacancy, but as one of these did not possess the requisite Sanitary Institute Certificate he was taken off the list, which was then reduced by ballot to a short list of three candidates, two of whom were lotal men. and the third a local man now resident in London. Prior to tho taking of the first ballot he question was raised as to the ineligibility of the applicants and on looking over the applic- ants' ages and statements it^was found that they were almost all withrii tile military age, and though one or two stated- that they were physically ineligible, it vwi" found that they did not state that the\ "Wjpi e in possession of the* Blue Certificate witi,(!. Ii V alone acceptable to the military authority', according to Coun. Marsh, although his op'uion was challenged by Ald. gi-iffiths and others. At last it was de- cided that the whole Committee could agree that the engagement should be subject to a month's notice on either side, and that in-the case of the irnn appointed being called upon to Join the oolours he would be relieved without this necessity if need be, and that he should not receive the Council grant- to ma.ke no the army pay to the sunY of the former wages received by the employees if he was to join the forces. Ultimately the Council's choice fell upon Mr. Lewis Mills, of Stuart Street, Merthyr, and his appointment was eonfirn' d- Aid. Griffiths t&n it W-9.,k in- tended to do about the sanitary inspection of Dowlais which, he alleged, had been neglected owing to the inspectors from that district hav- ing been brought down to do the work in the Town 'area. He was strongly of opinion that the Committe ought to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Inspector Owen without delay. The Chairman (Coun. Lloyd) said tha-t the Committee would take notice of the matter, and deal with it in due course but it was im- possible to deal with it at the moment, since it. wa. not included in the ag'enda. Coun. L. M. Jones hoped that no district would be neglected as had been the lower district. In reply to Coun. Francis, the Chairman said that the matter was not of sufficient urgency to merit its discussion as a matter of urgency at that meeting-.& reply that did not satisfy the Councillor, who argued that if there had been a necessity to fill that vacancy that day. then there was a need to fill the vacancy that was depriving Penydarren of its inspector. The Chairman: This ? a matter of financial expenditure, and it will have to come before Council and receive its approval before the Health Committee could move in the matter. Coun. Francis then moved that it should be a, recommendation to the Council from that Committee that they should appoint a successor to the late Inspector Owen. This was seconded, but Coun. Marsh moved tha.t no steps be taken until they had received a full report from the Medical Officer of Health (Dr. Duncan), and this also was seconded. Coun. Marsh mentioned in bringing this mat- ter forward that the death rate had decreased 300 per cent, on the last renort. Upon being put to the meeting the amend- ment tied with the resolution, and the Chair- man gave his casting vote in favour of Coun, Marsh's amendment that a report be obtained from the Medical Officer of Health.
A Kind of Big Brother
A Kind of Big Brother." EDGAR JONES AND STANTON. I Mr. Edgar Jones, M.P.. President, speaking at the annual meeting of the Aberdare Liberal Club on Monday night, in returning thanks for his re-election, alluded to the honour deservedly conferred upon his predecessor in office, Lord Rhondda. for his very great services to the country and the Allies. Mr. Jones said his only grievance was that he had not ehosen as his title Lord Ysguborwen." Mr. Jones said that after failing to get the Army Council to agree to a, lelrthyr Boroughs Battalion, he had offer- ed himself for enlistment as a private, but was not accepted by the doctor. He was, how- ever. doing what he could in several ways for his country. Speaking of the course of the war, Mr. Jones said he could not think that the war was going on another winter. Ultimately victory would be ours. Touching upon the difficulties and mistakes incidental to such a gigantic struggle, he said that, was not the proper time to find fault, much less to indulge, as some members of Parlia- ment did, in bickering and question? about mere trivialities which did not contribute to the prrmotion or success of the campaign. In conclusion, he sand that his work as their representative in Parliament was rendered more pleasant by their sending to St. Ste- phen's a kind of big brother, who was a real colleague in the true sense of the word. (Ap- plause.)
I Heavy Passalty for Evan Parkeri
I Heavy Passalty for Evan Parker, i E10 FINE UNDER DEFENCE OF THE I DEFENCE OF REALM ACT AT ABERDARI I Summonses were heard at Aberdare on Wed nesday—before Messrs. R. A. Griffith (Stipeii diary), J. H. Powell and F. W. Mander — ag ainst Evan Parker, a lot: a J motor and cycl< agent, who was alleged to have made state ments likely to prejudice recruiting and alst to cause disaffection to his Majesty. Mr. W Kenshole prosecuted for the police, and Mr Trevor Hunter represented the defendant (oi instructions from Mr. Edmund Evans). Richard Evans, painter, of Corwen Villa Aberaman, who said he attended on subpoena stated that on the Wednesday he was m i restaurant at Aberaman, in company with oth ers when defendant entered and exclaimei "Hello! Recruiting again are you? Why don' you join?" Witness replied "I have joined, and it i up to you now to do so. We will have you al in by and bye." Defendant then said: Yoi would not come for my son. I am going to th< scaffold first before you shall take him." Witness rejoined: "If I have a card I wil come to fetch him." Defendant then said in i loud voice: To with the King. He i only a —— German, and it is for them we ar< fighting." Witness then warned defendant telling him he was iaok to have a few months imprisonment for saying such things. In reply defendant declared, You will neve] make me handle a gun/' to which remark wit riess answered, They will train anything it the Army." Defendant's rejoinder was, "] will go to the scaffold before I wiH handle < gun." Mr. Hunter .said that the defence was thaj the allegations were not true in fact, and thal his client did not use the words complained of The date also was wrong; the oonversatiqe took place on January 7, and not January 5 His client was a Socialist, and however mucl the views of such people were obnxoious t( some of them, that had nothing to do with th< present charge. Defendant, tn the witness box, denied in tote the allegations made against him, and said ii was Evans who a< cost»d him and asked whert his armlet was. Witness said it was Evans'* duty to join the Army and not to molest othei people. He also explained to Evans that hE (defendant) was 45 years of age. Evans aakec him, "Don't vou think that the war wai brought ahon,ytl •.a«*r which wit, wese replied tkat he ten. and tfatf most wars, as was,, proved by history, wer4 brought about by L'out jealousies. In cross-examrpition defendant said it wai quite true he v o^ent at the Market Hall Aberdare, in S. ^ber, 1914. but when &skk if he took dOWL. Union Jack and stamped 01 it; he said it was a wicked lie. Witness ex- plained that what happened was that a persoi handed a flag to another, and witness tool possession of it to prevent a.nyone from beirij injured, .because there was a disturbance a the meeting. Replying to tl) Stipendiary, defendantllaÎc it was an anti-war meeting, and that he too! the flag off the stik and threw away the stick The Stipendiary eventually announced tha the Bench had decided to convict on the seoom summons and that this conclusion was reaehei on the evidence of Harford. Defendant wa fined £ 10 and costs (inaluding R2 2s. Od. ad voeate's fee) or 28 days' imprisonment.
Stanamasons and Aiflaigamation
Stanamasons and Aiflaigamation. SCOTCH SOCIETY OPENS ITS ARMS TO ITS FELLOWS. The Operative Masons and Granite Cutten Association of Aberdeen has aplmomelied th United Operative Masons' Association of Soo1 land and the Operative Masons' Society c England with a view to amalgamating the foi ces of the three Unions. The Aberdeen Assocu tion has had the subject discussed at severs annual delegate meetings. At the annual deli gate meeting held in December. 1915, a reec lution was called in favour of amalgamateoj and a subsequent referendum vote oonfirme the decision of .conference. It is to be hope that the members of the Unions now -%] preached will speedily respond to the approac made by the Masons of Aberdeen. The Abe; deen Granite Cutters and Masons' Union quite an industrial Union. including, as does, builders, monumental masons, stone pol shers, stone turners and toolsmiths. An ama ga.mation of the three Unions on such a fori as would include all sections of stoneworker such as quarrymen, is much needed, and has great future before it. Care should be takei however, in the constitution of such an alllal matgon that no obstacles are placed in t5 path of a wider amalgamation with othi great sections of the building industry. The three Unions concerned in this mov ment are not rival organisations in any sen of that term. Throughout their history th4 have scrupulously recognised each othei territory, and they have a system of mutu interchange of cards, and each deals with d fauIters against either Association. To show tj fraternal relations existing between the respe tive Associations, it may be mentioned th \vhn some time ago some freestone masons hi occasion to be employed for some time in t: Granite City, the Aberdeen Union did not i sist upon a transfer of membership; and t; General Secretary of that Union undertook look after the men's interests on bebllf the Scottish Association. At present there is large building contract on the borders England and Scotland, and the English ai Scottish Unions have made the contract a ne tral zone, the representatives of each UnL co-operating with each other in the organisati, of the masons employed there. The path sees clear to the unification of their forces at distant date.