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"FIGHT TO THE FINISH""

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"FIGHT TO THE FINISH"" âT DECLARATION BY MR. WATTS MORGAN. NO SUR-RENDER ON THE SIXTY HOURS. A meeting of the Rhondda District of Miners was held at the Wellington Hotel, Porth, on Monday, under the presidency of Mr. J. Treharne, when there were present a full complement of delegates and officiala. including Mr. D. Watts Morgan (agent), Mr W. H. Morgan (financial secretary), and Mr. J. Jones (treasurer). ir. D. Watts Morgan, dealing with the present situation in the Welsh coalfield, said that the course of negotiations so far had not been altogether very smooth, and had resulted in the owners claiming what they considered to be their rights under the law with regard to the sixty hours' clause, because the workmen, acting in accordance not only with the decision of the South Wales Conference of Miners, but in accord- ance with the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, had refused to work the additional sixty hours in the year. Some of the work- men had been summoned, and the Rhondda stipendiary (Mr. D. Lleufer Thomas) had awarded the colliery companies the amount of compensation asked for, and now 'he Divisional Court had confirmed this judg- ment. THE SET-OFF AND THE TRUCK ACTS. That, however, was not the really serious phase of the matter, but the stipendiary- a.nd he was a-grain upheld by the Diviaioual (lourt-had ruled that under the Employers' and Workmen's Act the damages awarded could be set off against the workmen's wages, In view of the Truck Act and other Acts of Parliament, however, an appeal had been lodged to the higher courts for a reversal of the judgment. If the owners persisted in their demands in this respect, them, notwithstand- ing the arrangement come to under the present agreement, the workmen would have no alternative but to proceed to litigation to secure payment for small coal to an extent which would at least cover the amount secured by the employers in respect of the non-working of the extra hours. The work- men had, for the time being, given up their right to payment for small coal, as it "was thought that the owners would have tested the Act of Parliament on its merits. That, however, the owners had not done; they had receded from the posi- tion taken up on the 30th of June last, and had gone baok on everything that they said on that day, and had obtained judgment, not upon the Act of Parliament itself, but upon the Aot of Parliament plus the agreement forced upon the workmen on the 3rd of July. In the opinion of the workmen's leaders the owners had acted dishonourably in taking the course they did, and the work- men's leaders could not be held responsible for going back upon their own word in regard to waiving payment for small coal. A demand must, therefore, now be made for payment for small coal as against the ov.ners' claim in respect of the non-working of the sixty hours. ONE RAY OF HOPE. The workmen's representatives, too, had had no alternative but to tender three months' notice to termihate the present agreement, which would also have the effect of terminating individual contracts on the 31st of March, as the conditions suggested by the owners under which the workmen's representatives Were to refrain from giving the notice were not such that the latter could entertain. There was, never- theless, one ray of hope, and that was that negotiations were to he commenced with recard to the proposals made by both sides of the conciliation board, a meeting of which would be held on the following day. It had been decided by the executive com- mittee to convene a conference of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain with the view of discuesing the grave situation in South Wales and in other parts of the kingdom. Matters were now none too satisfactory ii. Northumberland and Durham. They had been told that the owners' association in those parts had given the employers full authority to work their collieries in the way they thought best, and the Welsh employers had been complaining that they were not given the same consideration as was given to the Korth of England colliery owners. TRIPLE SHIFT. The present disquietude in those two coun- ties was an eye-opener, and showed that the workmen there were not so sweet on the triple shift system as was represented. There were 10,000 to 12,000 workmen idle, and the probability was that the disoontent would spread. They in South Wales would be guided entirely by the national conference, but in any new agree- ment come to an arrangement to work tive extra sixty hours under the Eight Hours Act, as proposed by the owners, would not be dreamt of. They would not, in South Wales, be prepared to work one hour or one mmute more than was worked in other parts of OreaA Britain. If the Weteh owners, there- fore, insisted upon their right to work the eixty hours under the new agreement, then I it would bo "a fight to the finish" as far as that question was concerned. PARLIAMENTARY LEVY ARREARS." I A discussion then took place in regard to the Parliamentary levy, a delegate inquiring as to whether there could be a collection of the levy at all. Mr. D. Watts Morgan: Certainly; do all you can and use all the persuasive efforts you possess to get everybody to pay. The Delegate: Voluntarily. Mr. D. Watts Morgan- Yes. The Chairman remarked that care would have to be exercised in this matter, and the non-payment of the levy could not be entered as arrears. Mr. D. Watts Morgan: It can be put on the card, but it must not be enforced. The Chairman questioned whether this could be done. The Deputy-chairman (Mr. Noa.h Eees): You can put it down. Mr. D. Watte Morgan said that it was as much of a duty upon the members to pay the Parliamentary levy as ever. If a ma-n would not pay the Parliamentary levy it could be put down as arrears, but arrears could not in any way be confused with Con- tributions, and he could not be deprived of any benefits of the organisation provided he was clear on the books in other respects. A delegate remarked that a. trades fund could not be collected for political purposes. He understood that was the dictum of the judge. LABOUR AND LOCAL BODIES. Mr. D. WaM.é3 Morgan said that all that had been decided was that the machinery of the Trades Unions could not be used to compel a man to pay the Parliamentary levy. If there were someâand he was told there were-who would not pay the levy, this should stimulate others to pay so as to get more working men in Parliament. It was not a matter which concerned the Parliamentary represen.ta,tives alone. A scheme had bean drafted, and he hoped to see it in operation, with the view of getting the working men better repreeented OlD local administrative bodies. There were many Acts of Parliament, such as those deal- ing with land, housing &c., which were really dead letters because they had not men on the local governing bodies to administer these laws. The objects aimed at by their opponents were not so much to prevent working men's representatives from going to St. Stephen's as to prevent them getting on county and district councils and boards of guardians, where at present Acts of Parliav ment were nullified through the influence of the capitalist class, and the Federation would never give up the idea of getting funds to maintain men on these local bodies to administer the law in the interests of the workers. NOTICES. AT PENRHIWCEEBEK. Permission was granted to the Penrhiw- oeiber Lodge to tender a month's notice to terminate contracts at that couiery 'a's a protest against the aggressive policy adopted by the management," subject to a conference between the agent and the local lodge com- mittee. A division was taken in regard to the rival claims of Rusldn and the Central Labour Colleges, and on a roll-call being made, a majority of 1,562 voted in favour of sending two students to Ruskin College. The receipts totalled £ 2,707. WILLING TO MAKE A SACRIFICE Mr. Tom Richards & the Eight Hours Act Speaking at New Tredegar on Monday night, Mr. Tom Richards, referring to the Eight Hours Act, said that the Western Mail" had told the workmen over and over again that the Eight Hours Act was detri- mental to their interests. Did not they revolt against t-his? Had they none of the old spirit of the martyrs ? Were they content to live in the conditions which existed 40 years ago? Were they not prepared now to suffer for the sake of their boys, as was done on their behalf? The "Western Mail" said that the men banned less money now, but what about the capitalist? Under this Aot it was now -nade impossible for any coal- owner to keep the boys underground for a longer period than eight hours. Now this had been granted it was time for every miner to atart an agitation for lees than eight hours. He reminded them how formerly women and men were employed in the mines, and a lad of seventeen now earned more than a man and wife combined did in those days. The albolition of female labour in the collieriew meant a sacrifice, but it purified the system of working. Were they worse off now? ("No, no.") What was needed was to raise the standard of living and the comfort, and were the miners of to-day net prepared to make a eaoriflce to attain that end?

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