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POSITION OF THE BARKY PAINTERS'…

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POSITION OF THE BARKY PAINTERS' STRIKE. FURTHER AND IMPORTANT DEVELOP- MENTS. ENTHUSIASTIC PUBLIC MEETING AT OADOXTON. THE MASTERS CLIMBING- DOWN. CHARGES OF INTIMIDATION AGAINST THE MEN. At the Public Hall, Cadoxton, Barry, on Saturday night last, a crowded and enthusiastic public meeting1 was held under the auspices of the Barry and District Trades' Council for the purpose of showing sympathy with the painters now on strike in the district. Mr. William Copp (chairman of the Trades' Council) presided, and amongst those present were Councillor J. C. Meggitt, D £ P. J. O'Donnell. Messrs. William Thomas, F. P. Jonos- Lloyd. T. Cram (Dinas Powis), J. W. Howells (men's secretary), J. Rees (secretary of the Trades' Coun- cil), E. J. D. Irish, W. Burbidge, G. Brock, H. Fisher, Rees Williams, Prince, D. Morgan, Marsh, Inspector Rees, Bennett, D. Edmonds, Pitt, Duns- ford, See. The following master painters were also present :—Messrs. F. W. Taylor (Barry), J. Ravenhill (Barry Dock), 1. T. Dando and H. R. Panll (Cadodon). Prior to the commencement of the proceedings Councillor Meggitt addressed the men in an adjoin- ing room, and made a propo al to them with the view of tending to bring about an earlier settle- ment of the dispute, which was eventually accepted by the men. The Secretary read communications of apology for non-attendance from various gentlemen. Dr. E. Treharne telegraphed from Nantymoel as follows :—" Unable to be with you to-night. Sym- pathy with workmen.—TBEHARXE." (Hear, hear.) Mr. Edward Hughes wrote :— Barry Dock, January 1, 1392. Dear Sir,—I am sorry I can't attend the pettEc meeting to-morrow evening, as I shall be from home.— Yours faithfully, EDWARD HUGHES. General Lee, J.P., wrote as follows '— Lugwardine, Hereford, December 31, 1891. Dear Mr. H.ccs,-Absence from home will prevent my heing present ,1,t tho public meeting you informed me was to be called for Saturday, to give expression to the feeling that the present trade dispute should be submitted to arbitration for settlement. I am with you in feeling t'J.(1,t all differences between masters and men should be settled by arbitration, and it is certainly to the interests of both that matters of this kind should thus be treated.—Believe me. yours faith- fully, H. H. L £ E. J. Rees, Esq. Mr. John Robinson wrote a3 follows :— East Barry House, Barry, Dec. 31st, 1391. Dear Sir,—I hare your letter of the 30th instant, and am sorry I shall not be able b attend your meet- ing, having an engagement for that evening. So far as I understand the matter in dispute, the difference now between the men and their masters is so small that t118 most friendly advice I can give is, that the men should accept the masters' terms and go to work (groans). Wishing the men a happy and prosperous new year (laughter).—I remain, dear sir, yours faithfully, JOHN ROBINSON. (Hisses). The reading of the following letter from Dr. W. Lloyd Edwards evoked much cheering ;— Gwynfryn, Barry Dock, Jan. 2nd. 1891. Dear Mr. Rees.—As I am afraid that I shall be de- tained to-night, I write to give you a word of sympathy, and to express the hope that you will have a full and enthusiastic meeting. I can appreciate the value of Trade Unionism in substituting responsible and con- certed actions for individual and irresponsible ones. It is a safeguard both to the employers and employed, as it not only prevents one of the men getting up a dispute on his own responsibility, but also hinders "the employer from dealing unfairly with one of his em- ploye's, who alone would be too weak t,) seek redress. With regard to the present dispute, I think it is a mat- ter of sincere regret that a difference, which both sides admit is not of vital importance, has not long ago been amicably settled. The remedy is very simple, and the men out on strike IMve very fairly and honourably stated their willingness to apply the remedy. It is arbitration, and I am surprised that the other side has not sufficient confidence in their version of the dispute to allow it to be arbitrated upon fully and completely. Under these circumstances everyone cannot help feel- ing sympathy with the men, even if we leave out of the question the merits of their claims. Again wish- ing the Trades' Council every success in their en- deavours to strengthen the hands of the painters, and trusting that there will be a speedy settlement,—I am, yours truly, W. LLOYD EDWARDS. Mr. J. Rees. A letter was also read from Messrs. Morgan Brothers, a local firm affected by the dispute, stating that they considered it most unfair that the gentlemen who had been announced to speak that evening on the men's behalf should do so when they had only heard one side of the question. (Laughter.) The employers having agreed to arbitration, they begged to ask the public to with- hold their opinion until they had read the report of the arbitrator. (Laughter.) The Chairman congratulated the strikers upon I having the sympathy of the impartial public men in the district. He had himself been convinced from the very first that the men had j ustice on their side. With regard to the letter read from Messrs. Morgan Brothers, asking the public to withhold their opinion, he wanted to know how long they wanted them to do so—until the 2nd of February? (Laughter and cheers.) They had withheld their opinion long enough considering that the strike had been in existence a month that day. He could not understand business men signing their names to a certain document, and then departing from it. Such conduct as the masters had exhibited de- served to be condemned by every right-thinking man. (Applause.) The masters had said that the men had broken the rules first. If that was so then they should, as the men desired, consent to the whole dispute being left to an arbitrator to settle. (Cheers.) The masters were afraid because they knew that they had done that which was wrong, and that which they were afraid for any honest man to sit and give judgment. on. (Cheers.) He agreed with the Barry cor- respondent of the Trades Unionist when he said: My opinion is this, and I am not alpne, that seeing Christmas so near, and not an abundance of work about, the employers took a mean advantage. I am almost tempted to say a cowardly advantage, over their employes at this time of the year. when all are looking forward to a little pleasure with their friends. Anyway, they have found their mistake, and the painters are as firm to-day as they were when they came out." How different had been the action of one of the German master printers in the dispute existing in that country, and who had sent the following words to his fellowmasters all over Germany :— Christmas draws near, the festival of peace. Let it bring an end to this cruel g;.tme! Let us make truoe all along the line'; forgiveness and forgetfulness of the bitter strife now raging be our Christmas pre- sent to our men. With the end of the old year let us bury all anger and dissension. Do not let us be ty- rants against ourselves in mortally wounding one an- other. Let the voice of the heart be heard, and let us not plant by our obstinacy hatred in the houses and families of our journeymen. Let us give to our men what is their just right to demand — the nine hours' day. Everyone who claims to be a practical printer will know the advantages of har- monious working together, and the benefits which accrue to him by conciliatory spirit in dealing with his men; and, on the other side, the disadvantages which must accrue to him by his arbitrary and despotic behaviour. Let us not try to turn back the wheel of time, but let us be the pioneers of progress- Grant what the men want, and let no feelings of re- venge or bitterness linger in our hearts. The festival of Christmas is the proper time to conclude a lasting peace, and the cry of "Merry Christmas" be on everyone's lips. Let the New Year greet our vener- able art in all its former splendour, and not In suicidal internal dissension. After the Christmas holidays let all our men return to their accustomed places, :;nd may they, by double exertions, banish the dark remembrance of the days of strife, and give us proof that if we treat them as they deserve, as our fellow-workers, they are able to compensate us for the apparent loss of time. Let us hope for a happy, JOY- ful New Year. (Cheers.) N Mr J. W. Howells (the men s chairman) pro- ceeded to state the case of the strikers, dwelling at length upon the inconsistency of the masters in si^nino- the code of rules and then breaking themf He referred to the words of .1\1.r: A. W. "Morgan snoken at the annual outing of his firm, as reported in the Sovth Wales Star, and which ex- pressed approval at the rules which had just before then been agreed upon by masters and men. The men continued the speaker, were fighting for a great principle they had amongst their ranks fathers of three, four, five, and six children who had as good hearts that day as they had at the com- mencement of the dispute a month ago. (Cheers.) If the masters had wished to alter one of their rules they had their remedy in Rule 8, by giving the proper notice, and he believed that in all pro- bability the men would have fallen in with their views." (Hear, hear.) In the Western Mail of .that day there had appeared a report charging the men with having assaulted an imported hani. He strongly denied everything-that was contained in that statement. (Cheers.) There had been nothing at approaching violence done to anybody. The men had been en strike now for a month, and i Hey had all through endeavoured to conduct themselves in a respectable manner to gain their | ends. (Cheers.) He appealed to that meeting to help them in the struggle, for he did not think there was a right-minded man in front of him who could say that the men were anything in the wrong. (Cheers.) The Chairman then referred to the report in the same paper, and said he happened to know a gentleman who was the only impartial witness of the affair, and he had denied in toto that the man was assaulted at all. The statement in the paper was nothing approaching what took place. Mr. F. P. Jones-Lloyd addressed the meeting, and said the men were certainly in the right. He said so with some regret, as many of the masters were. personal friends of his own. He thought, however, that by the resolution which had been come to by the men that evening, upon Councillor Meggitt's advice, the dispute would soon be settled. (Cheers.) Dr. P. J. O'Donnell, who was loudly applauded, said he confessed that when he came to the hall that evening he thought there was a considerable amount of fault on both sides. After hearmg the address of the chairman and Mr. Howells that night, he was firmly convinced that the men had been in the right all through. (Loud applause.) The masters should have taken objection at the time they alleged the men broke the rules, but from what he learned now they never demurred. (Hear, hear.) He was very happy to say that he thought there would now De no longer any necessity oi such a dispute for if the masters studied their interests they would accept the terms which the men had agreed to that evening as laid down by Mr. Meggitt. He con- curred with previous speakers that Rules 1 and 8 were inseparable. (Hear, hear.) However there did not appear to be much difference between the masters and men. and he sincerely hoped that the strikers would soon be back working again., and that when such resumption of work took place all ill-feeling which existed would terminate, and that masters and men would work as heartily in the future as they had in the past. (Cheers.) Mr. J. W. Howells said he desired the meeting to understand that everything had been done by the employers, and the important hands they had employed to get up a case of intimidation. (Cries of shame.") The speaker proceeded to mention two instances in which employers had challenged some of the strikers to fight. The Chairman confirmed Mr. Howell's statament in reference to intimidation, and said that after he had been successful in persuading one of the imported hands in leaving a job, where he (the speaker) was working, one of the masters brought three others up, and said he could do a bit of something else besides painting. (Groans). He agreed that the masters had endeavoured to get up a case of intimidation. Councillor J. C. Meggitt then rose to address the meeting, and was loudly cheered. He said they had had the facts of the case fully before them, consequently there was no need for him to go over the ground again. He was very much struck with the able way in which the men's case had been laid before that meeting1, and he con- gratulated the Trades' Council in having such an admirable president in Mr. Copp, and the strikers in having such a leader as Mr. Howells. (Cheers.) The speeches had been moderate in the extreme, much more '■ moderate in fact, than he could have expected. A fortnight ago the mendeeidecl to allow the ques- tion to go by arbitration. He waited upon the employers the following week with a view to getting them to do the same, but they decided that before discussing the question of arbitration there should be a conference of employers and employed. He was glad to say that the men consented to that, and they acted wisely and honourably in meeting the masters as they did. The result of that con- ference, however, did not produce anything of a lasting nature, the men not accepting what was placed before them, and, he thought, properly. (Cheers.) Then the men fell back upon their proposal for arbitration, and the masters eventually agreed to it provided the only question to be sub- mitted to the decision of the arbitrator was that of the alleged infringement of Rule 1. He con- fessed he could hardly see the point of the masters in asking for arbitration on a part of the question only. No man worth his salt would consent to one rule being decided upon; the arbitrator would naturally settle the whole question of the rules which had been mutually agreed upon by the masters and men. Considering that the masters were gradually climbing down from their position, and that the difference was very slight, it had occurred to him that the men should state dis- tinctly what they wanted, and then let the mas- ters say finally what they thought about it. He was inclined to think that the masters would go further and consent to arbitration pure and simple. He was glad to see some of the masters there that night. He thought they had learned something which they did not know before. (Hear, hear.) Before coming to the meeting he had drawn some- thing out which he thought might meet with the approval of both masters and men, and which he was glad to say the men, prior to the commence- ment of that evening's proceedings, had unani- mously agreed to. (Hear, hear.) The resolution which the men had passed that night was as follows :— We are perfectly willing to refer the question in dispute, viz., the one of working hours, to the arbitra- tion of an independent gentleman, and to bear half the cost of such arbitration. He would like to ask one of the masters present, Mr. F. W. Taylor, whom he knew, whether he did not think that proposal was a fair and reasonable one. Mr. Taylor said he had already passed a note up to the chairman to say a few words to the meeting. He was proceeding to address the meeting when The Chairman ruled him out of order. The meeting, he said, had been called in support of the men's view, and he could not allow Mr. Taylor to address the audience, advocating the masters' cause. (Cheers and cries of Sit down.") Mr. Taylor continued attempting to address the meeting, amidst a scene of wild disorder, and re- fused to give way. The Chairman named him to the meeting for disobeying the chairman's ruling, and eventually Mr. Taylor resumed his seat. Councillor Meggitt rose to continue his speech, and was again loudly cheered. He said he hoped that Mr. Taylor would be agreeable to the resolu- tion which the men had passed, and that the other masters would consent to leave the matter to arbitration. (Applause). He thought they would all be glad to hear Mr. Taylor give his view of the offer from the men, and he was glad to think that the masters had not said that they would refuse arbitration altogether. But the basis of arbitration was, undoubtedly, the code of working rules, and the arbitrator would demand to see them before com- ing to a final decision. He hoped that the dispute would now be very soon settled, and that the masters would agree to the resolution which had been passed by the men that night. (Cheers). He was glad to hear that the extravagant statement which had appeared in the Western Mail was not correct. They could not possibly do their cause any good by violence. But the strikers had no need to resort to violent measures. (Hear. hear). They had a strong case, and he was convinced that in that question they were bound to have the victory. (Cheers.) He had said it before on that platform, and he said it again that that dispute had done them good it had done the president of the Trades' Council and Mr. Howells good it was doing them all good, and there was no doubt that as a result of the dispute all the trades' union societies in the district would become stronger. (Cheers.) If both masters and men had been pro- perly organised twelve months ago that dispute would not have happened. (Hear, hear.) Let them take the moral from that. and see that their trades' union societies were not broken up. He ex- horted them not to become disunited, but bring their societies one by one together and weld them into a strong trades' council, and then take steps to secure representationupon the public bodies in the district. (Cheers.) He advised them to place their views fairly before the public, and then there would be no need of violent measures, and no neifl of coercion. They had a strong cause, they had the cause of justice and the cause of humanity, and so long as they remained united and acted moderately, and so long as they had moderate men at the head of affairs their action must be bene- ficial to themselves, and beneficial to the district in which they lived. (Loud cheers.) Mr. F. W. Taylor (one of the masters) said he had not desired to place the masters' case before the meeting, but simply to make a personal explanation. Mention had been made during the evening about some of the masters attempting violence. He should like to say that there was no man in that room who would more strongly than himself deprecate fighting or violent conduct in that dispute, whether it came from Mr. Morgan, Mr. Dando, or anyone else. (Cheers.) Continuing, Mr. Taylor said he was prepared to recommend to the Masters' Association the accep- tance of the resolution which had been passed by the men that night. (Renewed cheers.) The Chairman said they must all feel that they were coming nearer to a settlement of the dis- pute. Continuing, he said that the men's secre- tary had just received from the secretary of the Masters' Association a communication giving notice of dissolving the rules between the Painters' Society and the masters. (Hooting.) A Voice That means breaking up our society. (Hear, hear.) Mr. F. W. Taylor (excitedly) That's all wrong. I should like to say, Mr. Chairman, that I will be no party to breaking up any Trades' Union. At this point in the proceedings the local representative of the Western Mail (Mr. J. R. Llewellyn) rose and explained that the statements in that paper, charging some of the strikers with violence, were inserted on the authority of Evan Jones, the person who alleged he had been as- saulted. Mr. William Thomas (auctioneer) said he had attended that evening with the intention of try- ing to heal the breach if he possibly could. He was not at all times prepared to back up strikes, as he had once witnessed the painful effects of a great strike. (Hear, hear.) (At this point the chairman ordered a man in the front of the hall who had been interrupting the proceedings to leave the hall.) Continuing, Mr. Thomas said that since he had been present that evening he was more convinced than ever he was that the men were only asking for their rights in asking what they did—(cheers)—and he was prepared to do anything he could to support them. (Applause.) Mr. T. Cram (Dinas Powis), as an old master painter, said it gave him much pleasnre to express his cordial sympathy with the men by moving the following resolution :— That this meeting, convened in suppnrt of the painters now oni strike, heartily sympathises with them in their efforts to keep intact the rules mutually agreed upon by the master painters and the men, and regrets that the masters are not prepared to accept the offer of arbitration. (Cheers.) He presumed by the speeches that had been delivered that evening, that they were all thoroughly satisfied that the men's case was right. (Hear, hear.) He presumed also that there would be no necessity for the resolution if they received a definite assurance from the masters that they would submit the whole matter to arbitration. Although there was an intimation in favour of it from Mr. Taylor, still he did not speak for the others. The painters in that dispute had acted nobly and admirably. They were quite willing to submit their case to arbitration. If the masters regarded their cause as a just one, they ought to have rushed immediately, and have accepted arbitration. (Cheers.) He had read a letter from the masters to the effect that they would not be meeting until after the Christmas holidays. Did the masters' and the men's repre- sentatives in connection with the great colliery dispute act similarly. On the contrary they sat night after night, at length succeeding in bring- ing about a peaceable settlement, if the masters were honourable men, then once they put their signatures to a document, it was signed and sealed and bound, as if it had been done by twenty thousand horse. (Cheers.) The speaker pro- ceeded to condemn the masters in acting as they did, just before Christmas time, and concluded by expressing his satisfaction that the report in the Western Mail attributing acts of violence on the part of the men was inaccurate. (Hear, hear.) Mr. E. J. D. Irish seconded, and Mr. J. Reea, who was termed by the chairman as the faithful and energetic secretary of the Trades' Council," sup- ported the resolution. The latter said he had breathed Trade Unionism from his mother's breast —(laughter and cheers)—as his father lived and died a, faithful Trades' Unionist. He (the speaker) was prepared to say that the painters' strike was the result of the mean, despicable, and cowardly action of the masters in acting as they did at this time of the year. The men had naturally resented this, and they deserved the support of all Trade Unionists. (Applause.) The resolution was carried with the greatest enthusiasm. Mr. Dunsford. in a vigorous and fiery speech, move a vote of thanks to the speakers, Mr. Pitt seconding the motion, which was unanimously agreed to. After the vote had been responded to, Councillor Meggitt called for three cheers for the Chairman, which were lustily given, the proceed- ings which had been most successful and enthu- siastic throughout, then concluding. A collection was made in aid of the strikers, a substantial amount being realised. SUMMONSES SERVED OX THE MEN FOR INTIMIDATION. We are authorised by Mr. W. Copp, President of the Barry District Trades' Council, and Mr. J. W. Howells. on behalf of the men on strike, to contradict the statement in a contemporary on Saturday charging some of the strikers with having committed a violent assault on one of the imported hands. We learn that on Saturday evening six summonses, taken out by Mr. 1. T. Dando (one of the employers) for the alleged intimidation of four of his men, were served by Inspector Rees upon the following strikers :— Messrs. J. W. Howell (secretary). Jeffries, Hyman, Barrett, Washer, and Smith. The men have been complaining all through the dispute that the masters have been doing their utmost to manu- facture a case of intimidation. The summonses are made returnable for Cadoxton Police-court on Thursday next. INCIDENTS OF THE STRIKE. The men have been instrumental in inducing several of the imported hands, who have been brought into the district by the employers, to leave the neighbourhood, five or six being sent back last Friday. An important development in the dispute ensued on Friday last, when one of the employers, Mr. J. Ravenhill, who had lately been advertising for men as he had some pressing work on hand, signed in the presence of the men's representatives the following statement:—" I, J. Ravenhill, did not sign my name with the intention of breaking the society's rules, but for forming a Masters' Association." The witnesses to this were Edward Jeffries and H. Hyman. two of the strikers. It appeared from this as if Mr. Ravenhill were wil- ling to adhere to the code of working rules, which is all the men require. However, Mr. Ravenhill denies that by signing the paper he was truckling to the views of the men. GENERAL LEE AS ARBITRATOR. TO THE EDITOR OF THE SOUTH WALES STAR. SIR,—I see that the name of General Lee has been mentioned as arbitrator in the painters' dis- pute. How absurd. General Lee will probably be trying some of the men for intimidation" next Thursday week, and I fail to see the propriety of the dual role.—lam, &c., Barry-road. UNIONIST MASON. LETTER FROM ONE OF THE MASTERS. TO THE EDITOR OF THE SOUTH WALES STAR. SIR,—Will you kindly allow me, as one of the much-abused employers, to place before the public as concisely as possible my views on the above matter. Prior to some twelve month ago the relations between employer and employed were of a very friendly character, and up to the present dispute I donotiknow that anything has occurred to disturb that feeling. A branch of the Amalgamated Society of House Painters and Decorators was established, and a code of working rules was framed by them, intending to bind the both parties to a working contract. The employers did not even know of the existence of such a society until the draft proof of the rules was brought to them, with a request to adopt them and append our signatures to them. Time was not even given to thoroughly examine and consider these rules, and we-were also informed that they were practi- cally the same as were in operation between mas- ter and man in Cardiff; also it was clearly stated that, as the society was young, they did not wish to draw a hard and fast line in carrying them out. Thinking that what would satisfy Cardiff would suit this district, we did not hesi- tate to sign them, and in that we were, as the result has shown, grossly deceived and completely sold, for we have since discovered that in the vital point that is now at issue—viz., the working hours in winter, there is an immense difference between the Cardiff and the Barry rules, and that against the employer. Cardiff rule says, that from the 1st Nov. to the 28th Feb., the working hours shall be such as may be mutually agreed upon." Barry rule says, "that for eight weeks before and eight weeks after Christ- mas the working hours shall bt) from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with one hour for meals." But, sir, even this as it now stands on the printed sheets exposed in the various workshops is not the same as appears on the original docu- ment bearing our signatures, as Mr. Howells admitted at the public meeting at Cadoxton, that this rule was altered at the suggestion of one of the employers, and also, what was new to me, he admitted other alterations- in the rules, proving that the society was playing fast and loose with them. These alterations having been made with- out our knowledged or consent, I contend, nullify the whole contract, and as the winter approached with less trade, and we became aware of the fact that the Barry rule was not the same as the Cardiff, it was considered that we were not interfering with the spirit of the rule? in putting the men on a little shorter time than the letter of the rule indicated. And to this the men readily assented, until a few of the more ardent ones discovered it was a breach of the rule. But in charging us with this. what is to them a heinous crime, they say nothing of the alterations in the rules by them after they were signed, and they altogether ignore the fact that from February to October the rules supplied to us, and the original document signed by us, were totally different. I am not content with the explanation that the alterations is for the employers' benefit, for I contend it is not so, but I do find fault with them for their want of consistency in charging us with a flagrant breach of a. rule which we certainly did not sign, when they themselves altered the contract after it was signed. At the public meeting it was attempted to discredit the question of the alleged intimida- tion, and Mr. Howells became quite emotional, and almost justified violent conduct on the ground that they could not see the bread taken out of their mouths." This certainly could net apply to him, for if my information is correct, Mr. Howells and three others has been and are in receipt of full pay, viz., 7d. per hour until the strike is con- cluded, as a strike committee. As to the charge of breaking up the society, that is simply absurd, as no business man who is up to the times, can afford to disregard a well organised combination of labour, and undoubtedly the workman is exercis- ing a legitimate right in combining to protect his labour. But when a code of working rules is framed, which is intended to bind two parties, it is only fair that both should have a voice in their compilation. And this is precisely what is meant by the notice given to A.S.P.D. to terminate our adhesion to the rules, with the provision tha,t a committee be formed of employers and operatives to mutually agree upon them. Apologising for trespassing on your space,—I remain, yours truly, F. W. TAYLOR. P.S.—I was surprised to observe amongst those who responded to the chairman's call for those on strike to retire to the ante-room, some whom I knew to be working only a day or two previous. (For continuation of Strike News see page 5.)

PONTYPRIDD FUEIAL BOARD ELECTION.

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