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THE PLYMOUTH CRISIS.

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THE PLYMOUTH CRISIS. The deplorable continuance of the dispute at Plymouth Collieries is the cause of complaint on the part of tradesmen in Merthyr and district. On Satur- day little or no money was circulated, and a great amount of booking had to be done. The wages bill at Plymouth amounted ordinarily to about £3,000 per week, and the cessation for over a fortnight of the flow of this immense sum is seriously affecting trade in all its branches. On Saturday tradesmen took a less amount of shillings than they have done pounds for many months, and it is to be hoped that the crisis i will be brought to a speedy and amicable settlement. Great poverty exists in certain parts of the district, and in some instances requests have been made by individuals for assistance. On Friday last a meeting of the Council of the Amalgamated Society of Colliery Workmen of South Wales and Monmouthshire was held at the Globe Hotel. The Council sat for the purpose of seeing what steps they could take in order to effect a settle- ment between the Plymouth workflpeh and Mr. Bailey. A telephonic message was despatched ask- ing Mr. Bailey whether he would receive a deputation from the Council, and the response cime as follows —"No. But if a deputation of Plymouth men wish to see me I am willing to receive them." The men's committee declined to take this step because it would be of no use," said one of their number. Mr. Bailey also expressed his willingness to meet a deputation of the workmen on Tuesday, but the offer was again declined by the committee. Whon Messrs. John Evans and Thomas Thomas were in London last week, Mr. D. A. Thomas, M.P., introduced them to MI. T. W. Russell, the Secretary of the Local Government Board. The tacts of the case were placed before that gentleman, as was also the course adopted by the Council in giving work to the unemployed. The interviewed listened attentively to the case, and promised to send an inspector to Merthyr as soon as a scheme for carrying out any work was prepared. So far, however, no scheme has been prepared. The more prominent ladies and gentlemen of the district, including ministers, have formed themselves into committees, and are doling out relief to the children of the unemployed in the shape of well-made and wholesome soup. On Friday a number of gentle- men attended at the ante-room of the Temperance Hall for the purpose of giving soup to the children who were known to be in need of nourishment. It was an extraordinary spectacle to witness. Outside the doorway hundreds of children swarmed around like bees, and it was aB much as the Rev. J. G. James (who admitted them) could do !'1 p--event the hungry urchins from crush'; :ntothe room en bloc. Hundreds of children enjoyed cd warm food provided for them, several of them exj>r' -ssing a wish that they might take home some soup for theit "little b It Ider." On Saturday a similar sight was wituessed, when Mr. David Jones took upon himself the arduous duty of admitting the children in batches. The members of the Merthyr Children's Relief Committee were inside attending to the wants of the youngsters, and before closing timo" as many as 790 children were entertained. On Sunday afternoon at four o'clock, hundreds of children assembled at the Temperance Hall and par- took of a splendid repast consisting of bread and jam and tea. Mr. William Harris, with his usual genero sity, gave over one thousand currant buns, made at his own bakery. The meal was greatly enjoyed by 860 youngsters, and upon leaving each child was pre- sented with a bun to take home. Among the ladies and gentlemen who assisted were Mrs. Jones (Zion), Mrs. Morgan Morgan (Twynyrodyn), Miss Williams (Messrs. R. Jones & Co.), anumlierof ladies from Hor e Chapel (who kindly attended at the invitation of Mr. David Jones), Mr. William Harris, merchant, Alderman D. Davies, Mr. Hooper, Mr. Daniel Jones, Mrs. Hooper, Mrs. Gitbe, Mrs. Coleman, and others. On Monday about 600 children received soup. The weather was bitterly cold, and the meal was enjoyed by all. Mrs. Griffiths, Star Inn, and Mr. Jenkins (Messrs. Eastman's) very generously prepared and gave the soup. The donors referred to sent about 80 gallons of soup to the hall. The platform had been arranged by Mr. David Jones (from Mr. W. Harris' office), Mr. David Jones, and several colliers, and by the time the children arrived everything was in order. Aid. D. Davies, chairman of the committee Rev. J. G. James, and the Rev. Alfred Hall, were also in attendance, and paid every attention to the youngsters. On Saturday the workmen at Blaina voted J320 towards the relief of the Plymouth men. At the monthly meeting ot the Western District of Miners, held at Swansea on Saturday, it was decided to meetJthe wishes of a deputation from the Plymouth Collieries, and recommend their case (an appeal for assistance) to the various collieries in the district. On Monday morning the principal topic of con- versation was with regard to the rumour that it was likely that the dispute would end either that day or during the week. Mr. David Motgan, as represent- ing the workmen, and Mr. E. Jones, of Varteg, representing the propnetorate, had arranged to confer at Newport, and as both representatives were invested with plenary powers it was thought that there was a probability that they would come to terms. The result of the interview will be found below. It is said that Mr. Bailey might put forward a condition, namely, that the legal proceedings instituted in the High Court of Justice, to which reference was made in last week's Merthjr Times, for the recovery of damages for alleged wrong- ful dismissal, shall be withdrawn. But we are informed that the men are determined to make this a te3t case, the resolution^ so to do having been passed by a large majority of workmen at the Drill Hall meeting. Should Mr. Bailey put forward this con- dition, it is thought the dispute will continue to exist. On Monday, as stated above, Aid. David Morgan and Mr. John Evans visited Newport, and met Mr. Edward Jones, Varteg. After a lengthy interview, no agreement was come to, and the men's representa- tives returned to Merthyr. On Monday afternoon, a meeting of the workmen's committee was held at the Globe Inn, and Mr. David Morgan gave an address upon what passed at the interview. Mr. Robbins presided. Mr. Morgan pre- faced his remarks with a sincere acknowledgment of the many expressions ot sympathy which had been given by the workmen in reference to the bereave- ment he had lately sustained. Proceeding, he said he called Mr. Edward Jones' attention to the paragraph which he had read in Saturday's South Wain Echo and also in the South Wales Daitil Neics that morning, and which, to his (Alderman Morgan's) mind, involved a clear statement that Mr. Bailey had given up the contention that he bad hitherto put forward of having the reduction or allowances, if any, to date from the 1st February. Now, he held that the state- ment in the press involved that Mr. Bailey withdrow his reservation as to date, whoeverthe dispute might go to; and he had nohesitation in saying that that was the light in which the public regarded it. But Mr. Jones suggested that he need not take notice of all that appeared in the papers. Further conversation took place, in which he (Alderman D. Morgan) suggested that after what had appeared in the press the matter might be referred to the Sliding-scale Committee, but although Mr. Jones was an old member of the Sliding- scale Committee, like himself, he (Mr..Jones) refused that reasonable and equitable proposition to settle the matter ("Shame.") Mr. Jones then told him that the Plymouth Company said that they had met the workmen when they were in difficulties with the seam of coal and gave them 3d. i>er ton. The place, according to the diagram he (Mr. Jones) had had, had returned to its normal condition, and that being so, their contention was that it was reasonable now for the3d, to be given up, the men to commence opera- tions upon the standard. His (Alderman Morgan's) reply was that as against the diagram there was the evi- deuce of the workmen. Therefore, asthere wasadispute as to Jie facts, lie thought the men might be per- mitted to go back to work upon the old rates upon the dispute being submitted to the Sliding-scale Com- mittee. Failing that, he suggested Judge Owen as an arbitrator. Whilst Mr. Jones said he had nothing agaiiwt Judge Owen, he reminded Mr. Morgan that Mr. Bailey had said before that this case should not go to arbitration (" Shame "). The speaker asked Mr. Jones how in the world it wns that the Coal- owners' Association rejected arbitration in this case, and had yet permitted arbitration in the Rhondda ? How was it they adopted it in one case and not in the other? "Oh," said he (Mr. Jones)," if Mr. Bailey wishes to have arbitration upon it himself he can do so." Now, they could see by this that the Coal. owners' Association was not a barrier against him (Mr. Bailey) taking arbitration in "this case. He hoped the representative of the press would take note of that, because the reason that had been given against arbitration was that the Coalowners' Associa- tion would not permit it. "Mr. Jones." said he, have you some gentlen i that you would like to suggest to me as an arbitrator between us?" And he (Mr. Jones) replied No." Alderman Morgan, in continuation, explained the offers which Mr. Jones had repeated, and said he told that gentleman in conclusion that whatever settlement they might make, it must he by way of the standard, and not of allowances at all. They also went into the question of the six-feet before he left. Reverting to the press paragraphs, Alderman Morgan said it was possible their cause might be damaged in the eyes of the public if people were allowed to suppose that the question of the date was overcome in buch manner as to leave no hone of contention between them and the employers. Therefore he suggested that in order to clear up the point, a deputation should wait upon Mr. Bailey as to the paragraphs which appeared in tho press. In conclusion, Alder- man Morgan expressed his intention of leaving no stone unturned in his efforts to get justice for the workmen (applause). It was subsequently agreed that Mr. Bailey (who was sitting at the time at the Workhouse Boardroom as chairman of the Waterworks Committee) should be communicated with and asked to meet Alderman Morgan and Mr. John Evans in reference to the matter of the newspaper paragraphs at Bentley's Hotel. Later on the chairman proceeded to the Boardroom at the Workhouse, and we understand that the result of the inquiries nade was that Mr. Bailey could not accede to this request, but that lie was willing to meet a deputation of the workmen, if they desired to see him, at the Plymouth Offices at two o'clock on Tuesday afternoon. At Zion Chapel on Monday, the unemployed Plymouth men received soup tickets for their children. Thin step was taken in order that the kind- ness shown to the distressed should not be abused. In cousequence, the 600 children who enjoyed the souj) on Monday, were those whose parents are out of work. On Tuesday night the committee received from Dowlais the 1;1101 of JS51, exclusive of the South Tunnel Pit, in addition to the JS10 received last Satur- day. J650 has also been received from Merthyr Vale. As a result of the appeal. the South Wales and Mon- mouthshire^ Colliery Workmen's Association have decided to make a levy of Is. per man pei' week, throughout all the collieries. The committee wish to express through our columns their warmest thanks for the liberal responses made by the colliery work- men and the public generally. It appears that a good deal of canvassing for monetary assistance is being carried on in the district by men who have not been deputed to do so by the committee. The money collected by these men is appropriated to their own use, and we are asked to advise the public not to give subscriptiom unless the collector produces a book bearing the official stamp of the workmen's com- mittee. The Plymouth Committee met at the Globe Hotel, on Tuesday, and discussed the state of affairs. Mr. Robbins presided. The proceedings were conducted in private Hearty votes of thanks were passed to the hospitable inhabitants who had so kindly put their hands into their pockets, or assisted in any way to alleviate the distress caused by the dispute. On Tuesday, Mr. Robottom, tamily butcher, Vic- toria-street, very generously gave the soup and the bread. Among those who attended to assist in the distribution were Mr. William Harris, Mr. Hooper, Mrs. Beddoe, and a number of workmen representing the committee. On Wednesday (yesterday) 667 children were enter- tained to a spread of bread and jam and tea. The meal was heartily enjoyed. There were present representing the ladies' committee: Mrs. Peter Williams, Mrs. Beddoe, Mrs. Edmonds and Aid. D. Davies, Mr. William Harris, Mr. Hooper, assisted by the ministers of the town and 18 representatives of the Workmen's Committee. At a meeting of the Council of the Amalgamated Society of Colliery Workmen held at the Globe Hotel, yesterday, it was stated that on Saturday next the society would give J6200 towards the Plymouth men's funds. Yesterday (Wednesday) in resjxinse to an appeal, Mr. V. A. Wills allowed the unemployed men to use his longroom for recreative purposes. Mr. Livsey kindly supplies the coal free of charge, and Mr. Wills has provided games, such as dominoes, See. Mr. Wills has also very kindly given the men the use of his piano. On Thursday a football match will be played between Mr. J. T. Harrap's Team and the Merthyr Team, the proceeds going to the Plymouth men's fund. THE ROYAL WELSH LADIES' CHOIR CONCERT. At the conclusion of the concert given by the Royal Welsh Ladies' Choir on Thursday (held under the auspices of the Merthyr Shop Assistants' Union), Mr. W. Rees, the secretory of the movement, referred to the distress prevalent in the town and district among the families of the unemployed Plymouth men, and suggested that a collection he made in aid of the funds for alleviating the 'destitution.—Mr. T. W. Goodfellow proposed that a collection be made, which was seconded and carried unanimously. Several of the committee then made the collection, which resulted in the sum of £8 being raised. The result was received with applause. A committee was appointed, consisting of Mra. William Harris, Mrs. Beddoe, and Mr. Griffith?, Pencaemawr, and the money handed to them for proper distribution. APPEALING TO THH GUARDIANS. Four of the Plymouth men applied to the Guardians on Saturday for assistance. Their spokesman said they had no wish to insult Mr. Bailey in any way. They had come there because they were destitute.— The Chairman Can you not get work in some other colliery? —Applicant The coalowners will not employ anyone who cannot produce his discharge note.—Mr. T. Morris Is it not a fact that the Plymouth Company is open to employ a certain number of men ?—Chairman Have you tried to get work there?—Applicants: No, the colliers, in mass meeting, have decided we must not go.—Mr. R H. Rhys: Then you cannot come to us.—Mr. J. Edwards explained that these men could not go to work. Two of them were hauliers, and there was nothing for them to do in the pits; the other two were assistant timbermen, and therefore could not take timbermen's duties -On being questioned, the assistant timbermen said they earned 4s. 3d. a day, and the hauliers 3s. 6d. a day.—Mr. Dan Thomas Do you know that, if you are given relief, you will lose your vote ?-Applicants Yes, we are quite aware of that, sir. The applicants were then asked to retire, and the matter was discussed by the Guardians at some length.—Mr. Dan Thomas said there was a lot of timber in the house that required sawing up for firewood, and that, he thought, would provide work for some of the men.—Mr. T. Morris said the work could be done by the inmates, and he objected to the employment of the applicants.—Mr. Dan Thomas suggested that it was a pity to do anything that would pauperise the applicants, and thought, by arrange- ment with the Council, some work might be found for these and a dozen others.—Mr. Councillor Thomas Morris thought it was objectionable for these men to come into the house to mix up with the other people there.—Mr. R. H. Rhys asked Mr. Bailey if his com. pany could provide work for some of the men.—Mr. Bailey replied that they could employ a number of men for repairing operations but the men's com- mittee did not allow anybody to go back to the PItS. Mr. Rhys further asked if the men would be given their discharge notes.—Mr. Bailey answered in tho affii mati ve. —Mr. Dan Thomas said the action of coal- owners in refusing work tc the men without the dis- charge notes was absolutely shameful.—Mr. Augustus Davies said the discharge note rule did not apply to boys under sixteen.—The Rev. Aaron Davies moved that the Board inform the local authorities of the destitution prevailing, asking them to provide work as far as practicable. — Mr D. Daviefi (Merthyr) seconded. They as Guardians should show some amount of humanity, and do all they could to relieve men in actual want. The stoppage at the Plymouth Collieries only affected two or three hundred men in the first instance. — The motion was carried.—Mr. Rhys twitted Mr. Davies with refusing to sign District Council cheques to pay the men employed.— Mr. Davies retorted that it was Mr. Dan Thomas who had refused, not he.—Mr. Dan Thomas said Mr. Davies had given notice to the clerk that he wouldn't sign any more cheques.—This Mr. Davies denied.- Canon Wade moved that the relieving officer be instructed to visit the four applicants for relief, and report to the Board.—Mr. Dan Thomas seconded.- Mr. Rhys said the motion was out of order. It was the men's duty, if they wanted assistance, to go to the relieving officer. He moved tho previous question.—Mr. Thomas Morris seconded.—A division was called for, when thirteen voted for the previous question and twelve for the motion, two remaining neutral, namely Mr. Bailey and Mrs. Margaret William?.—Mr, Dan Thomas I suppose you will leave these people to starve now.—Mr. D. Davies said they could of course still go to the relieving officer if they wished. ANOTHER APPEAL FOR HELP. The Plymouth Workmen's Committee have issued another circular appealing for help, the text of which is as follows:—To the colliery workmen of South Wales and Monmouthshire, and tho public generally, —We are compelled to make a further appeal for your practical sympathy on behalf of the unfortunate workmen who are locked out from the Plymouth Collieries, Merthyr Tydfil. Previous to November last, 1895, our earnings only gave us a bare existence for our wives and families. Our employers in Novem- her demanded a reduction of 20 per cent. We refused the demand, and were consequently locked out for three weeks. After failing to enforce the reduction, we were permitted to return to work. On the 1st of January, 1895, ha\ ing only worked one month, we again received notice to terminate contracts at the end of January. We have made every effort to come to an amieaMe agreement with our employers, but without avail. I urther than this, we have appealed to them to settle the dispute according to the Sliding- scale agreement or by arbitration. This they absolutely refused, therefore our only hope lies in your co-operation to help us to carry out this struggle. The number locked out is between 2,000 and 3,000 employee?, who, with their families, bring the number up to 9,000 Mufferers. We hope that you will extend to us your practical sympathy, so as to enable us to carry out this struggle to a successful end. WHERE THE MEN WORK. Upon inquiry yesterday we were informed that tho men employed by the District Council are taken on in batches of 150 men each, the men being changed twice a week. At present the 150 men are divided. Some of them are repairing the road from the Six Bells, Penrheolgerrig, to the Mount Pleasant, on the top of the mountain others are improving the road at Tymawr making a new road from (iellifaelog to Bryniau, and cutting trenches at Mountain Hare, Twynyrodyn, for the laying of water mains. Tho, cheques for paying the men were signed last week by Alderman David Davies, and we understand that Mr. Davips will continue to sign them in accordance with the resolution passed by the Board. AT THE THEATRE. Mr. Will Smithson, the popular lessee and manager of the Merthyr Theatre and Opera House, takes more than ordinary interest in the welfare of the men out of work. More than once he-has given up the theatre to the men to hold their mass meetings, when, through some cause or other, the men have been in a hole" as to where to meet together. This week Mr. Smithson has kindly offered to give the whole receipts taken at the theatra on Friday night for the benefit of the Plymouth workmen, and we need hardly say that the generous offer was readily accepted by the distressed men and their committee. A special pro- gramme has been arranged, and besides the usual items down for thia week's company, there will bo several "extra turns" of more than usual interest. Mrs. Smithson will appear, as will also Miss Florrie Smithson, the daughter of the lessee, who won such golden opinions in last year's pantomime. The other performers will be Stephen Bailey, who will give an Italian song and dance; Phillip Dyer, Thomas Ward, and Chris. Jenkins, in a triple clog dance, for this night only the Sisters Niagara, who appear upon the stage in large tanks filled with water, and perform several daring feats; the great Kelmar, the king of ventriloquists the eccentric Tooles, Rosie Wynne, Maljel Kessler, tho Cornet Queen Mr. Tom Hill, the Welsh Packman (an amusing character, we should say), Percy Cahill, comedian and Polly Plunkett, serio-comic and dancer. Tickets may be obtained anywhere, and we observe that several ladies and gentlemen of the town have kindly taken upon themselves the work of disposing of tickets. Friday night. Don't forget. MERTHYR CHQRAL SOCIETY. The Merthyr Choral Society intend giving a mis- cellaneous concert at the Drill Hall on Sunday week in aid of the distress fund. Among those who will take part are Miss Eleanor Jones, who has just returned from London after her brilliant success; Madame Miles-Beynon, Miss Beatrice Evans, Miss Sophia Griffiths, Miss Nellie Davies, and Miss Lizzie Williams tenors, Mr. William Jones and Mr. David Jenkins; baps, Mr. Sandford Jones, Mr. David Jones, Mr. Henry Phillips, and Mr. W. K. Jones. The choir will sing two or three sacred choruscs, We predict there will be a very large attendance. GENEROUS DONORS. Yesterday Mr. Hooper supplied us with the follow- ing official statement :— Over 1,100 children are sup- plied with one meal daily at the Temperance Hall, Pentrebach, and Abercanaid centres. The committee have already received the following donations:— Merthyr Ladies' Vssiting Society, JE10 Mr. William Harris, J310 collected by Shop As-istants' Union at concert on Thursday last, £ 8 Mr. W. R. Cohen, £ 1 Is.; Mr. B. Cohen, 10s. 6d.; Jews' Philanthropic Society. lOa. 6d. (weekly contribution); Mrs. R. Levinsohn, 2s. 6d.; Mr. Thomas Jones, Brecon-road, 2s. 6d.; a friend, h; Mrs. J. Williams, Is. Gifts in kind wefe received from the following :—Mr. J. Rich, 24 quarterns of bread Mr. J. Morgan, 51 bs, of toa j Mr. Morgan Morgan, bullock's head Messrs. East- man, Limited, three liaskets of meat for soup. They have promised, per Mr. Jellyman, district manager, three sheep weekly as long as the stoppage of work lasts; Mr. William Harris, 1,100 buns Mrs. Griffiths, Star, and Mrs. Jenkins, butcher, 72 gallons of soup Mr?. Carlyle, 12 quarterns bread Mr. Robottem, butcher, 40 gallons of soup and 14 quar- terns of bread Mr. David Lewis, Cyfarthfa Farm, ><ix gallons milk English and Colonial Meat Company, per Mr. R. Williams, 601 bs. beef; Mrs. Jones, la, William-street, lib. tea and 61 bs. sugar. THE LADIES' COMMITTEE. A special meeting of the Merthyr Ladies' Working Committee was held at the Merthyr and Dowlais Coffee Tavern, Victoria-street, for the purpose of considering the proposal to assist the other ladies and gentlemen of the town in giving relief to the distressed children. Mrs. Hambly, Wheatbrook House, pre. sided, and there was a fair attendance. It was decided that members would be at liberty tD render personal assistance at the soup kitchen at the Tem- perance Hall. It was also decided to subscribe £ 10 from the committee's funds towards the Distressed Children's Fund. Up to the time of going to press last night there was no change in the position of affairs, and no further meetings had been arranged. I-W

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