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SEAMEN'S WAGES QUESTION. MEETINGS AT CADOXTON. A most determined and united effort is' being 'made at Barry, not only to prevent any further reduction, but to recover some of the ground that was lost when the reduction of a few months back was allowed to come into operation. On Friday, in connection with the steamer Wooller, now lying- in Barry Dock, offers of wages at the rate of :1.:3 17s. 6d. per month were made at the Shipping Office, but owing to the energy of the delegates of the Sailors' and Firemen's Union, under the direction of Mr. James Harrison (district secre- tary), these terms were declined all round, and the crew succeeded in being ultimately engaged at £4 5s. for sailors and £4 10s. for firemen. At Penarth Dock a similar advantage has been ob- tained in connection with the Discovery, and another vessel now in the dock, men not being found who were prepared to sign on at less than what they considered the Union wages of the port. Complaints have been made of late at Barry Dock to the effect that the Officers of the Board of Trade have not preserved that attitude of im partiality in connection with the wages move- ment that was necessary to the well-being of the Department to which they belong. It was con- tended that in certain instances they had favoured the side of the employers. Be this as it may, on Friday Mr. James Harrison, on behalf of the seamen's organisation, had an interview with the superintendent of the Board of Trade at Barry Dock, being received most courteously by that gentleman. As the result of the conversation which passed between the two, it was understood that instructions would be given to the Board of Trade officers to preserve a perfectly neutral attitude at the present juncture, and to avoid doing anything that would be calculated to cause un- pleasantness or unnecessary friction between either party to the movement now on foot. On Monday morning the ship Mysterious Star and the steamer Starlight were (as previously antici- pated) blocked" at Barry Dock owing to the attempt made by the masters to ship men under the Union rates of wages. The captain in both instances sent to Cardiff and Penarth for men, but Mr. James Harrison immediately telephoned to those places, and the men sent for did not arrive. During the morning, however, three ships, namely, the Sam Handford, Albania, and the Mysterious Star, succeeded in obtaining crews at the reduced -rates of £4 and £4 5s. per month. On hearing this, Captain Simmonds. of the steamer Starlight, succeeded in shipping at £4 and £4 5s. On Satur- day the wages paid at Barry were £3 10s. for sailors on board sailing ships, and £4 5s. to sailors on board steamers, with £ 4 10s. for firemen. Mr. Harrison maintains that no reduction of the sea- men's wages has yet been recognised at Barry. In his answer to a letter appearing in the Press from Captain Thomas Leisk. of the steamship Wooler, wherein Captain Leisk challenges Mr. Har- rison to prove that he had offered £3 17s. 6d. per month. Mr. Harrison says :— Unfortunately for the statement of Captain Leisk, many witnesses were found to prove that the sum of £3 17s. Gd. only was offered before he left the shipping office. Again, as regards the arrangement at the Federation office, may I ask Captain Leisk why he sought to engage a crew at Barry, and upon being informed that the minimum rate was t4 and £4 5s., he immediately sent to Cardiff for another crew This does not have the appearance of the crew being engaged on the 4th inst. It may be gratifying to Captain Leisk, and likewise his bogey "—the Shipping Federation—to know that the majority of his so-called Federation" men are financial members of the Seamen's Union. Captain Leisk states that I had nothing to do with the rates the crew were engaged at. yet when the shipping office yard was cleared and the men were standing at my back he actually condescended to interview me as a representative of the men with a view to securing his crew. for they had upon their arrival at Barry from Cardiff made common cause with their fellow-seamen of Barry, and were equally determined to withstand any further reduction. He then offered ,C.4 and £4 5s., but, being convinced the key of the position was at our control, we demanded £4 5s. and £4 10s. and -secured it. It is gratifying to learn that Captain Leisk and the Shipping Federation recognise £4 5s. and £4 10s. as the port wages for vessels trading on the coast of Brazil, after they have endea- voured to enforce a further reduction and suffered defeat. Matters in connection with the wages of sailors and firemen were very quiet at Barry Dock on Tuesday, the only crews shipped being those of the sailing vessels Kensington and Haddon Hall, and the steamer StafTa. In the former cases the amount of wages agreed upon was £ 3 5s. per month, and in the latter £4 and £4 5s. On Wednesday things remained in the same quiet condition. Only one steamer, the Santhold, shipped crews at the same rate as the previous day. PUBLIC MEETING. A public meeting of the National Amalgamated Seamen and Firemen's Union was held at the Picnic Hall, Cadoxton, on Thursday last, Mr. John Rees, secretary of the Barry Trades' Council, presiding. Mr. W. Sprow (organising secretary of the N.A.S. and F.U.) delivered a powerful address, supported by Mr. J.Harrison (secretary of the Barry Branch of the N.A..S and F.U.), Mr. J. Gardner (district secretary of the N.A.S. and F.LT.), Mr. T. O'Keefe (National Amalgamated Labourers' Union), and Mr. W. Copp (ex-president of the Barry Dis- trict Trades Council). Mr. Sprow, in the course of his address, said they had made good progress since the commence- ment of the organisation, and one of the chief planks was to provide better food for the seamen while at work. They had succeeded in drawing the at- tention of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord George Hamilton, to the necessity of preventing shipowners from purchasing and serving out pro-, visions that were unfit to be eaten. He knew cases of provisions being served out as food that had actually been condemned by the Government as unfit for human beings, and where meat which had done duty at the battle of Waterloo had been pur- chased by a shipowner and served out to the sailors in his employ. This abominable practice, said he. they were putting a stop to, and hoped to prevent anything so disgraceful again happening. He said it was only the month before last the crew of a ship had been attacked with cholera, and six out of the eighteen afflicted died, and upon the evi- dence of the medical officer the cause was traced to the rotten food on board. Touching upon the great question of wages, he said they had gained the sympathy of all labour unions, and were in a better position to demand a proper wage, and shortly would make a desperate stand to recover from the employers what had been taken from -them (the sailors) by a mean advantage. He ex- horted all to attend the meetings they intended holding over all the district, and be assured they would do all they could to make up for the many grievances to which they had been compelled by circumstances to submit. (Loud applause.) He said up to a short time ago the Sailors' Union had not been recognised as all other labour unions had but that was not now the case. They had a direct representative in Parliament, and they would make the most of their advantage. They would now clamour more than ever for those reforms which were the rights of seamen. Mr. J. H. Wilson. was a good man, and had proved him- self worthy of their confidence. He would see that the seamen's demands should be recognised, and. what was more, granted. (Applause.) A short time ago he was in gaol, now he was in Par- liament, and he would soon let the country know it. The Union had never been so well off as it was at the present time, and the benefits of being -one of its members were plain. The subscription was small but the advantages were great, and, considering this, he would impress upon those seamen not already enrolled to become members at once and participate in the reforms which were about to be accomplished. Better food, better protection against bogus shipowners, and above all better pay for their work. (Loud and continued applause.) Mr. J. Harrison, who was greatly applauded upon rising, said to put it nautically Mr. Sprow •" had come up to win'ward and took all the wind out of his sails but, he said, let them keep toge- ther and show the country they meant to get, not ■only what would be their due, but what had been 'kept back from them all up to that moment. It would not be long before they got their teeth, and when they did, said he, they would use them. But it was not by talking anything was to be obtained, but by downright practical action, and shortly, with the great help of their Union, they would secure all they had ever wanted. Although there was no denying they had received a check from the result of last year's strike, the Union since had increased in strength both numerically and financially, and, though they did not want to strike, they would do so rather than accept any- thing they considered not satisfactory. (Applause.) The analysis of a number of balance sheets of •Cardiff boats showed the wages to be but a small portion of the expenditure, and in case of any curtailment of expenses the wages should not be touched. (Hear, hear.) He denied that in insisting upon a higher wage a number of Cardiff vessels would be laid up. He said if they had a strike low it would nof' end like the last one. (Laughter and applause.) The Chairman then read the following resolu- tion :— That we, the seamen and ,firemen of Barry district, pledge ourselves to do our utmost to maintain the integrity of the National Seamen's Union, feeling convinced that it is the only means of remedying the many grievances under which we at present labour. Mr. Beaty proposed, and Mr. Bubbins seconded, and, on being put to the meeting, was carried unanimously. After a few remarks by Mr. Copp, a most satis- factory meeting terminated. A meeting called for last Wednesday night at Cadoxton was adjourned. 7:








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