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Letters to the Editor.




Aberdare Bankruptcy Court

Labour Jottings.

Aberdare Miners' Demonstration.


Aberdare Miners' Demonstration. -AIR. STANTON AND THE COMING SMALL COAL STRUGGLE. The Annual Demonstration of the Aberdare Miners was held on Monday. Headed by the Aberdaiv, Aberaman, and Cwmamau Bands, the various lodges marched to the Market Hall, .where the meeting was held, the spacious Hall beiny full. After a. selection by the Aberaman Band, Mr. M.J. Morgan, Glyn Neath, who occupied the chair, spoke briefly Referring to the resolution on 'the agen- da, he observed that it could be divided into two parts—retrospective and pros- pective. It referred t. the passing of certain measures and also to the need of other measures which. he believed would soon become law if they would send to Parliament their own men. Among them was a Bill to provide Old Age Pensions (Hear, hear.) He was glad to note the increase in the membership of the Feder- ation. Mr. C. B. Stanton then moved the fol- lowing resiolittion:- H This Annual Meeting of the Aber- dare District of the South Wales Miners' federation expresses its satisfaction that since the last Annual Demonstration the Trades Disputes Bill and the Amended Compensation Bill have been passed into Law, and that the Coal Tax has been abolished. Also that during the year the general wage rate has been consider- ably advanced. We sincerely hope that the investigations of the Royal Commis- sion on Mining Accidents will result in improving the conditions under which the Miners of the country labour, and materially reduce the number of acci- dents in mines from all causes. We are glad to note the great increase that has recently taken place in the membership of the Miners' Federation of Great Brlta-ii, and urge upon every colliery workman the imperative necessity of fidelity to the Federation, so as to secure further in- dustrial and political reform. We again confirm our approval of the legislative reforms called for by the Federation of Great Britain, the Trades Union Con- Kress, and the Labour Party, and expect Mie Government to pass into Law this Session the Miners' Eight Hours Day from Bank to Bank Bill, being strongly of the opinion that this measure has been too long delayed. We also iircle that a measure for the removal of the legal disabilities of colliery che.k- i-eighers should be jessed as early as possible. We heartily approve of the de- cision of the Government to pass into law next session a measure for providing Old Age Pens-ons, believing such a measure to be the most pressing and urgent at the present time of all social reforms." Mr. Stanton said that he did not think that anyone had a case against the Federation now. A few years ago they were troubled by low wages, stop wagons, and other evils, but now they enjoyed a good wage, regular employment, and Prospects of shorter hours. There was another struggle to come. He referred to a demand for payment for small coal. When the last agreement was made the workmen had to accept a Hobson's choice—the devil or the deep sea. He would ask them to bring pressure upon their leaders to get payment for small co-al'which fetched such a high price at present. If they made a strenuous de- uland he believed that they would get it, and then another reform would be added to the credit of the Federation. He had no desire to create a turmoil \11 the coalfield, but he would be less than a man if he did not advise them to stand up for their rights. If the necessity to strike would force itself upon them, let them show that they were determined. The employers could afford to grant this c,oiiec,ssion. (Applause.) Mr. Stanton then went on to contradict a statement which appeared in the (f Western Mail" regarding his attitude towards militar ism. He was not in favour of militar- ism, but if they had citizen forces in South Wales they would be able to give a warm reception to so-dierfe who came here at the instigation of employers to shoot down the workers. It was citi- zen forces that he had advocated at the Congress and not compulsory military service, as stated in the "Western Mail." Mr. Illtyd Hopkins seconded the reso- lution in the vernacular, and introduced to the meeting Mr. W. E. Morgan, miners agenc, Swansea, who said he was glad to see amongst them the Rev. W. A. Edwards, a minister of the gospel, appearing in the role of a workmen's leader. (Hear, hear.) He was glad to be present at the workmen's great; annual festival. The resolution which had just been proposed was pregnant with importance. It was, as had been remarked, retrospective, it also held bright hopes for the future in the form of progressive measures which Aveu 1 d soon be introduced. Referring to the non-unionists, the speaker said that they were scotching the chariot of re- form. The non-unionist should be iso- lated like the leper of old. He did not consider the non-unionist any better than a lunatic. He was injurious to himself and to his fellow-men, and should therefore be confined in the place re- served for madmen. Having regard to V k, ;I the perilous nature of his OCCIlpaiioli, the miner ought to, be paid at least as generously as the diver or steeple-jack. Unionism gave a man backbone. It also ensured equal treatment to all. In the past some colliery managers were stuffed—not after their death like birds, hut they were stuffed to death with bribes. Referring to the checkweighers and the disabilities which hedged their occupation he would ask was it fair that it should be so. (Cries of "No.") Deal- ing with the small coal question, the speaker mentioned that the collier suf- fered doubly. He received nothing for the small coal which was cast to the gob, did he receive any consider- ation for the small coal which brought money to the employer's pocket. The Hev, W. A. Edwards, M.A., Rector of Vangan, was the next speaker. Mr. Edwards, addressing the audience as fellow-workers," said he was pleased to identify himself with the cause of Labour. The two causes with which he was intimate were the Labour movement and the Temperance movement. Some of his friends thought it shocking that he should take part in a Labour Demon- stration. But he believed that all min- ister,s ought to be interested in the appli- cation of practical Christianity, which me-ant work on week days as well as 011 Sundays. He was proud of the work done by the Miners' Federation. Mr. Keiv Hardie he claimed as one of his oldest and warmest friends. (Hear, hear.) Referring to the good work al- ready done by the small band of Labour Members in Parliament, he remarked that it war, an earnest of what they could expect when the number was multi- plied. He hoped that the number would increase and the quality would be main- tained. Labour should be represented on every public body throughout the land. But the leaders should be backed tip by the rank and file. With reference to Old Age Pensions, he trusted that they would get from the Government some substantial measure. If the man who went to the battlefield to perform a. work of destruction deserved a pension, then certainly the soldier of industry was en- titled to a pension. (Hear, hear.) Where was the money to come from? From a graduated tax on incomes. An obligation rested upon them all to be loyal to their Federation. He could not understand any honourable man being a non-uniou- ist. It would be far better for em- ployers as well as employees if non- unionism were abolished. Referring1 to the House of Lords, the speaker said that the fact that such an institution was allowed to exist was more than a. sane man could realise. Let them re- member that their quarrel was not with individuals, but with sjstems. They should simply say to the millionaires politely, U Please get off our backs." (Laughter.) As a Christian man die was in favour of a re-constructed society on progressive lines. He wished to warmly support the resolution and wished every success to the workers of Aberdare. (Loud and continued applause.) The resolution was put to meeting and carried unanimously. Mr. Stanton moved a. resolution to the effect that the 9,000 miners of the Aber- dare district call upon the Labour Mem- bers in the House of Commons to do all in their power to induce the British Government to put a stop to the Congo atrocities. Mr. Stanton said that they had independent evidence that the re- ports concerning the Congo authorities were quite true. Personally, while a man of peace he was prepared to volun- teer to go cut to exterminate such ter- rible tyrants. (Hear, hear.) Let them in no uncertain voice tell the Govern- ment to direct their energies against these assassins. Mr. G. H. Bibbing?, B.A., referring to the small coal question, said that when the workmen would make a. claim for payment for small coal, the masters would probably set against that demand a claim for the smut which they took away on their faces and hands from the mine. (Laughter.) He wished to second the resolution, and to endorse every ad- jective used by Mr. Stanton. Mr. Bib- bings made a most,eloquent appeal on bt- half of the Congo victims. The resolution was put to the meeting and carried nem. con. Mr. W. Trainer made an appeal for help for the Belfast workers who had been on strike, and a collection was made at the door. Mr. Augustus Davies moved a vote of thanks to the chairman and ipeake-r- Mr. W. M. Hopkins seconded the resolu- tion, which was carried. Among other occupants of the platform were Councillor E. Stonelake, Guardian J. Prowle; W. Phillips (chairman of the I.L.P.), and D. James (ex-president of the district).


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