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Labour Notes. I

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A Virile Council.I

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A Virile Council. I INTERESTING MATTERS BEFORE MER- I THYR LABOUR PARTY. THE INFIRMARY ENQUIRY REPORTS. I It was a sincere vote of condolence with the family of the late Wm. Harris that the Merthyr Trades Council passed before proceeding to busi- ness on Thursday last. As Secretary to the Council for some years the late Mr. Harris was the life and soul of the Party, and his loss will now here be felt more keenly than on the Council. A letter was read from the Secretary of the local branch of the Poor Law Workers' Union stating that it had come to his organisation's knowledge that the Minister of Health had re- fused to sanction the nevised scale of salaries re- cently passed by the Merthyr Board of Guardians, to its officers. The Union inn-ited a reconsideration of this decision, and dwelt at length on the justice of the scale passed by the Board. The Secretary had sent a letter of protest, officially acknowledged, and the chairman (Mr. J. Adkins) announced that the Guardians had the question in hand. NOT FAR ENOUCH. I On the ground that it was out for complete Socialisation of the land, the council decided to allow an appeal for affiliation from the League for the Taxation of Land Values to lie on the table. Affiliation was decided upon with the Indian Parliamentary Committee, which is being organised to act as an information bureau -on Indian affiairs, and particularly on the move- ment for Indian Home Rule. SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS. I A letter from the skilled workers' Strike Com- 'mittee of Dowlais pointed out that there was reason to suspect that members of unions affiliated to the Trades Council were being; asked to do work that fell in the duties of the men on strike. In many cases the men had refused to undertake this scab work, and the leaders of all the unions were willing to co-operate to prevent it, but still it was feared that some of the work was being done by trades unionists and the delegates were asked to spread the appeal to their trade union members to refuse these duties. The Chairman said he was sure the delegates would do everything possible to make it known to their fellow workmen that they were expected not to do any work that would injure the trades unionists whilst on strike. HOUSINC. I Councillor Bateson, whose report on the Housing proposals of the local Council the pre- vious month had proved one of the most prova- cative council reports for months, again pre- sented the report of Council activities. This ar- rangement was made to enable him to conclude his interesting account of the housing scheme. He said that lie felt that at the previous month, by dwelling on the defects discussed by the Housing Committee, lie had created an impres- sion that the houses were bad and small. To make the position clear he produced sketch plans of the proposed houses, and gave actual dimen- sions so that the delegates might- have a better idea of the houses. RELIEF WORKS. I He also reported that the Labour Group had pressed hard for the opening up of one or two old scheme's of improvement that would absorb some of the terrible unemployment in the dis- trict. One of these schemes was the construc- tion of the sewer from Troedvrliiw to Merthyr Yale, but they were told that the loan sanc- tioned for this work before the war was E24,000 whereas now it would cost about £40,000, and that being so it was necessary to secure a new sanction for the loan. They had pressed the cause, and it had been decided by the Cowpora- tion to apply for this sanction immediately, so that work could be opened up. In reply to Mr. Shadbolt, Councillor Bateson said the question of commencing the construc- tion of the houses rested with the Housing Commissioners and the local Committee had de- cided to send Mr. Biddle to interview them with a view to expediting the work. THE CUARDIANS' ENQUIRY. I Guardian Sam Thomas reported on Poor Law doings during the month. He opened by pre- senting the recommendations made by the En- quiry Committee that had been sitting to inves- tigate the charges in respect to the underfeed- ing of nurses in the institution, and which have appeared in the Pioneer." He also pointed out that the estimates for the forthcoming half-year were nearly double those of the preceding six months, due to some extent to the increase of the outdoor relief from 11/6 per week to 15/ making the. sum estimated t39,000 as against £ 27,000. He mentioned, too, that the Board had written to the Government departments asking that something should be done to alleviate the distress in Dowlais. Guardian Harry Evans also reported, especial- ly on the Infirmary Enquiry. The Trades Coun- cil had not asked for this enquiry, he said, but it had been due to the flutter caused in the dove-cotes of the workhouse by the publica- tion in the" Pioneer" of the complaints laid before the Council. He did not think it was quite the kind of enquiry that was expected, for the'question was gone .into very thoroughly-- more thoroughly than the kind of enquiry which had been held in questions of that kind before. He believed that the enquiry would bring about the results desired, and, he believed, a. better diet in the future. The girls had all been afraid that they were going to be repri- manded, and then that they would be victimised on leaving the institution. To meet this they had decided that all references should be given by the Committee and endorsed by the Board, and all personal references asked for they should be presented to the Committee for scrutiny. RECONSTRUCTION. I Mr. Evans mentioned that the work of recon- struction was going on at the "workhouse." The Local Government Board had suggested the change, and he had suggested that the institution should he known as Margarine Villa, but it was to be called Tydfil Lodge. This was for the purpose of omitting the name from birth-certificates, but the committee had gone one better even than Tydfil Lodge by deciding that births should be registered as taking place at number so-and-so Thomas-street. Another important reconstruction was the decision to re- move 45 of the aged inmates from the work- house to the more beautiful surroundings of the Auxiliary Hospitals at Aberdare, where they would he free to spend their days in the open- air if they so desired, and not confined within the four walls of the institution. CRANTED. I Dealing with the refusal of the Minister 01 Health to sanction the suggested 100 per cent. increase in wages to onioers, referred to in the Poor Law Union's letter above, he said he had been given to understand that the Local Govern- I ? I I

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