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THE TAFF VALE WORKMEN AND THE SHORT TIME MOVEMENT. A meeting of the enginemen, firemen, guards, and breaksmen employed on the Taff Vale Railway, was held yesterday at the Glove and Shears Inn, Duke- street, to receive the report of the deputation appointed on February 3rd to wait upon Mr. Fisher. About 150 men were present, including train men from Aberdare, Treherbert, and other stations, and a few representa- tives of the Rhymney and Great Western workmen. The deputation reported the result of their interview with Mr. Fisher. They were four, and having first seen Mr. Page, who treated them very courteously, and gave them some very good advice, they went to Mr. Fisher, and told him respectfully what they had come for. They showed him a statement that other lines were working ten hours a day, and he disputed it. They showed him the circular of the Great Western Company, issued in 1867, and he would not admit that as proof; but he said that if they could show him in print, or give him any good authority to show that any other local road, training with coal like the Taff Vale, was working ten hours a day, he was prepared to say he would give the Taff workmen ten hours a day also but at that time he could not have anything to do with it. They asked him what they might expect in the future. He said, "If the ten hours' becomes general, you shall have your ten hours without a memorial." That they took as their answer, and after some more conversation on that matter, they came to the conclusion that they would defer the matter for a month, and at the end of that time see Mr. Fisher again. The deputation also called Mr. Fisher's atten- tion to several other grievances, which he said should be remedied; and he informed them that after the fol- lowing week the train men would all come under his charge, and there would be no fines but those he passed. With regard to the ten hours a day, which was said to prevail upon other lines notably, the London, Brighton, and South Coast, and the North-Eastern railways-Mr. Fisher told the deputation that the companies were practising a deception upon the public. They promised ten hours, but so arranged matters that the men must go on working or leave work at some distant station and find their way home as they could. Another point they spoke about was the pilot men. They told Mr. Fisher that the Newbridge pilot men could be reckoned as main line men, and ought not to be classed as yard men. Mr. Fisher said he would give that matter his atten- tion. This was the substance of the report made to the meeting by the deputation. A discussion then followed upon the short time movement. One of the leading members of the deputation urged the meeting to let every other grievance drop until they had got the day of ten hours granted (hear, hear). Mr. Fisher said they had told the public, through the press, that men upon the Taff Vale worked fourteen or sixteen hours a day; but had not stated that the same men had shed" days," and had time off. He did not think that altered the question about the long hours but Mr. Fisher would not argue the question (laughter). Mr. Poole, the chairman of the company, said they did not pay a premium to become drivers. They did pay a premium of many years' ser- vice in humble capacities on low wages before they rose to be drivers-14 years be reckoned it took to reach that post (hear, hear). Mr. Poole made a great mistake there but they were all liable to make mistakes, and they must forgive them and forget them. They had not the privileges of other classes of labour they had no meal times. He had been four days off that week, and had not seen his family during that time-one of his chil- dren he had not seen at all until that morning (laughter). They had not the comforts of home, nor had they hours of leisure, and they had constant responsibility and anxiety, and he thought they had greater claims, there- fore, for shorter hours, than in any trade, and he hoped they would get what they were now trying for (hear, hear). Whatever you do," the speaker continued never dream of a strike. Let us work for what we want fairly and honestly (cheers). It is better to spend five or six months waiting until our object is gained, than be idle for two months' on strike. There may be some young man here with only a pack in his house to put on his back and be off when he likes; but others cannot be off. I am married and have a family, and so have a good many others. Do not let us strike. Let us bind together and be firm; but avoid a strike" (cheers). A memorial, which had been drawn up for presen- tation to the Board of Directors, was read. Its prayer was that ten hours a day should constitute a day's work, and sixty hours a week, or six days overtime to; be paid for at the rate of eight hours a day. It was suggested that they should substitute ten hours instead of eight hours for the overtime-day. Several of the men strongly urged that the memorial should be unaltered, and that they should ask for eight hours. After all, they could only consent to take less but if they asked for ten, perhaps the Directors would want them to take twelve. J Keep to the eight hours," said another work- man. Make overtime as expensive as you can, so that the company will do its best to get rid of it (laughter and cheers). The meeting appeared to be of the opinion of the last speaker, and it was agreed that the memorial should remain in its present form. A vote of thanks was very cordially passed to Mr. George Fisher for the courteous and friendly way in which he received the deputation, and the same work- men who formed the deputation were requested to act again, and to seek another interview with Mr. Fisher in a month, to present and support the memorial.






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