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HAULIERS' GRIEVANCES AT PLYMOUTH. STIWXU REMARKS BY MR. MORGAN THOMAS. For some time past a spirit of discord has been in evidence at the Plymouth Collieries, consequent npon the interference of the officials with the hauliers em- ployed, and of late the feeling between masters and men has been considerably strained. There are several grievances of which the men complain, the principal being that the night men work two hours per week more than the day men, for which they receive no extra remuneration.—A meeting of the night men was held at the Globe Hotel on Monday afternoon, and, after some discussion, it was decided to leave the matter in the hands of the agent of the hauliers Association. It was further complained that the night men had to work an extra hour on Saturday nights, and on Saturday evening last the me.1 refused to do this unless their grievances were remedied.— This matter also was referred to the agent. A very well-attended meeting of the daymen was held at the same place in the evening, at which Mr. Morgan Thomas, the hauliers' agent, and generally known as "The Rocking-stone Chairman," was Iiresent. In the course of a stirring address, he said, be was glad to be able to bear testimony to the fact that as far as the hauliers were concerned their affairs were brightening up all round. If the men only remained united, they would reap far greater benefits than those they had hitherto enjoyed. Some managers told them that by joining an association, they were running their heads against the wall, but he hoped they would soon knock the wall down on the heads of some of these managers (laughter). They were told that the collieries did not pay, but it was a remarkable fact that many of their wealthiest coal- owners started life as common workmen and died, having invested their money in collieries worth millions of money. If they only looked into the affairs of colliery proprietors, they would find that these men reaped enormous profits and paid the men starvation wages (shame). There were cases in which colliery owners employed their own agents to buy coal at the home ports at a low figure and then take it abroad to sell it at a high price. These high foreign prices weut into tue colliery owners pockets, and tho low home prices were sent to the Sliding-scale and it to keep the men's wage? down (shame). Then he knew of other cases where the officials tyrannised over the men. He was in favour of peace but he would not be surprised to hear that a gang of workmen had turned upon certain men and feathered them pretty well (laughter). Pro- ceeding Mr. Thomas expressed the gratitude he felt to notice the flourishing state of the hauliers lodges in Merthyr Valley (cheers). There were many people who would like to see their organisation broken up, but be believed their present strength to be impreg- nable (hear, bear). Dealing with the Sliding-scale question the speaker said that something ought to be done to prevent what was known as the six months notice being introduced into the next scale. This was only done in order that, if six months notice were given by the men, the employers might pounce upon them. The employers were afraid to trust the working men upon a month's notice, and naid they could not supply certain contracts unless they were allowed a large notice. That, in his opinion, was all bunkum, and the sooner they got rid of that bogey the better it would be for them. He believed it was only something that would give a chance to the employers to starve the men before the six months were up, so that they might deal with them after- wards as they wished. He considered the coal-selling agents at the different exchanges in South Wales ports to be nothing less than men who drove the colliery workmen to privation and want. They cut each other's throats and statvcd the workmen by unfair competition, and brought down the price of coal to leps than its value. People purchased coal beoause they wanted it, and if coal was worth driving and cutting it was surely worth paying for. It was a remarkable fact that the officials paid so much attention to the hauliers. Why WM this? Simply because they knew that if the wheels stopped, the whole colliery would stop, and the profits would stop. At the same time he did not believe the employer tried to prevent this cut throat competition, because when the price of coal went down he knew very well that he would not suffer, but that the loss would be the collier's, and if the men only stood against these long settlements they would pretty soon be able to put a stop to this unfair competition, and obtain better wages than they received in the past (hear, hear). It was not money only that was essential to repair the condition of the working community. Unity would go a great deal further than money, and he hoped they would endeavour to feel for one another, to try and help each other, and endeavour to protect their common rights. If they were in a position to fight the employers and stay out for two or three weeks say once or twice a year, they would pretty soon bring the masters to their senses. The employers demanded the law of Moses, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Let them have it. The men could treat them in the same manner (applause). If the collieries did not pay, as the employers said, why did they pay their agents, whom they very well could do without, £1,000 and J62,000 a year? He feared the inspectors sided with the masters rather than the men as was manifested the other day when they gave evidence for the em- ployers against the nien (shame). Proceeding, Mr. Thomas charged the managers and employers of collieries of doubting the accuracy of the men's reports, and accepting the word of one official against 40 workmen (shame). Others had such respect for the Sliding-scale that they would not listen to the men's representatives unless they were brought for- ward by the advocates of tho Sliding-scale or the men's representatives on the Scale Committee (shame). He hoped that these things would have an end soon and be buried ic oblivion with the Sliding- scale of 1892, and that the men would be in a position to demand better wages, not when the audit said it should bo given, but as 8t1)()Il as the value of coal increased in the market (hear, hear)..Ileferring to the Miners' Provident Permanent Fund, the speaker said that it was high time the employers should be taken out of the management, which should be handed over to the working men. The men did not want the 25 per cent. which the masters paid if they had the funds into their own hands, andit would be far better for them to have afund of their own than to deprive themselves of common justice by joinfng the fund which the employers ruled. The Provident Society would take the work- man's Is. 2d. per month during his lifetime even should he be the biggest drunkard that swallowed a pint of beer, or be he the greatest reprobate on God's earth, but when he was killed in the mine, and his poor widow became dependent upon the fund, she must be of "'a chaste character and conduct herself properly," else her pittance would be taken away. It was uot so very Ion;, ago that a poor woman's weekly payment had been stopped simply because she had been seen coming out of a public-house. Yes, the way for the money to go into the fund was as wide as Russian fields, but the way to get money out was very narrow indeed (hear, hear). In conclusion, Mr. Thomas earnestly urged upon the men to l>e true to each other and to keep in union, so that they might reap more benefits even than they already had.


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