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Nonconformists Muzzled at…

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THE MINERS' OUT OF WORK FUND. MASS MEETINGS AT ABERDARE. On Tuesday two mass meetings of the night- men and daymen respectively in Aberdare, were hold at the Market Place, in order to hear ad- dresses on the proposed out of work fund, which the South Wales Miners' Federation aro about to establish. At the morning meeting several hundreds of the nightmen from the various collieries in the valley were present, and the meeting was presided over by Mr. C. B. Stan- ton, the miners' agent for Aberdare. Mr. Stanton said the question of the moment for the night men as a class, as they were all wage men, was that of their position under the Eight Hours Act. He could assure them that as leaders they were going to better their position, and were endeavouring in any new agreement to secure for the night men a six- day pay for five nights' work (hear, hear). He saw no possible reason why this should not be secured (loud applause). They were also care- fully watching the attempt that was being made in certain directions to change the cus- toms in the coalfield to convert day men to piece work. The Federation had done much for the men, but he wanted them to consider things on a business basis, and not to expect to receive a twopenny bun for a penny (laugh- ter and cheers). The Federation had done a mighty work for them, and had secured for them an increase of 60 per cent, or 12s. in the J6, but it could do still more if it had the neces- sary financial support from the men (hear, hear). It had obtained better conditions for the men of to-day, but he, for one, was de- termined to set the mark higher for to-morrow (loud applause). SPIRIT OF CONCILIATION. At the national conference in London last week much was done to secure the conciliatory spirit manifested at Cardiff this week. The employers, after all, were only human, and they did just what the workmen would do in their places, they tried to get all they could out of the men. As the men, however, had now secured the right of collective bargaining, they could tell the employers, "We recognise your rights at present until the St-ate obtains pos- session of the mines to a return on your capital, but we also demand the rights of the men" (hear, hear). If the men would unite to pay and show their principles a great deal was pos- sible. In the past they had relied far too much on the generosity of the employers and that had not been very great. Let them not in the future be penny wise and pound foolish, and talk of everybody in office in the Federation making a good thing on tlvoiback, but think! a. bit of the capitalist, vhc had obtained his motor car, his grand hO'-1: artd his banking ac- count on their back (near. hear) Let them now set the pace, and not locu back, but look forwaH. They had nothing 10 lose but their chains (laughter and cheers). It lay with them when the ballot was taken to say wi'.eiher they would make their position saf- by voting straight for the out of \< orl. scheme. What they wanted was a little lore money, and much more loyalty, and bp fvted that in the forthcoming ballot there be no cross on the wrong side of the paPA. ,'hear, hear). Let '•hem remember that thous?nas would to-day be starving but for tho moneys received from the Federation. It was cowardly and mean for those who were working and drawing wages to allow their fellow workmen to starve. They had never played the game of rades Unionism in Wales as they ought to, but was never too late to start right, and if they so he pro- mised them that better conditions wouJd be (e- cured for the men throughout the coalfield, especially for the night men. They were not going to ask for a, vote at that meeting, but they were going to ask the workmen to vote right when called upon to do so (loud applause). WHAT IS PROPOSED. Mr. Ben Davies, Rhondda, who spoke in the vernacular, said that what their leaders were asking them to do was to double their contri- butions, and so secure a good out of work fund. There were thousands of workmen as good as any one thrown out of employment at various times by explosions or other accidents at col- iieries, or by depression of trade, and now they could only support them by levies. They want- ed to get rid of those levies. Had they con- sidered that the men who had been working had benefitted by the starvation of their fellow workmen? When those men were idle less coal was brought to a glutted market, and thus the prices were maintained. Had those 10,GOO men who had been idle been working the wages of the workers would have come down from *he maximum long ago, for no colliery would have been stopped had concessions been made as asked for by the employers. In his own district concessions of 4s. in the £ had been asked for, but refused. Why 4s. in the £ was more on a wage of JB1 in one week tliTn they were ask- ing for in four months. Stoppages, too, were caused by explosions, inundations, failure and breakage of machinery, depression in trade, owners. getting into liquidation, and other causes, but at present the Federation could not pay exoept by means of levies for any of those reasons. They could only pay in case of strike, lock-out, or victimisation, and they i wanted the increased contribution to enable them to do eo (hear, hear). The employers could then do as they liked about stopping their collieries, for they really cared nothing for the workmen except so far as they could make something out of them. Passing on, he briefly dealt with the question of the Eight Hours Act, stating that he never expected that the Eight Hours Act was going to come at the cost of the workmen.—(The Chairman And it sbell not).—He agreed, but the owners were trying to get that (sha.me). It was a, sha.me to even suggest reducing the wages of those who only earned 2s. 6d. to 2s. lOd. a day. Why, that was not sufficient to obtain bread (loud applause). The attempt was to lower the low- est, who, to-day, had no living wage—it was starvation wages. After a graphic description of the condition of things in the past, he said that the whole of the miners' leaders were agreed that there was to be no reduction of wages. Let them be clear on that — the men's helpers and the colliers' boys were not to have their wages reduced (loud applause). That would not be tolerated for one minute. The employers talked when the Bill went through the House about the price of coal going up 5s. a ton. Then why not recoup themselves out of that and not attack the men's wages? It was much like the publicans' attitude towards the Budget. They complained they would have to pay 3s. 9d. increased tax on spirits, but would make 10s. out of it, and ten they talk- ed of a ruined trade (laughter). Let them show true bravery by being not merely brave in bat- tle, but also beforehand, for battles were won in time of peace (loud and long-continued ap- plause). READY TO FIGHT. Mr. James Winstone, Pontypool, remarked that Mr. Davies had said he was a man of peace and not a fire-brand, but his speech show- ed that he was well in the fighting brigade. He, too, did not want to fight, but he did not want to run awav (laughter and cheers). Not only would the fighting brigade oppose a re- duction, but every miners' leader in Great Britain and every representative of the 70,000 who were represented at London last week would want to know the reason why (loud and long-continued applause). It was said that a reduction of wage rates may be proposed at the meeting of the sub-committee. That, was not so; they were all agreed, and he divulged no secret when he said so. There was to bo no reduction in any wage whatever the conse- quence mav be (loud and long-continued ap- piause). The only thing Mr. Davies and him- were not agreed upon was the method of abolish in." th0 present unfair condition of la- bour. Mr. Davies was a serious believer in Trades Unionism, and he was prepared to ad- mit that Trades Unionism was the basis on ] which thAw were te etftrt, but he the spe&k.9!\ submitted that in these days of aggregation of capital in combines and trusts, they could not overcome them by Trades Unions alone, but must adopt more modern methods, and meet them en the floor of the House of Commons (hear, hear). He, like Mr. Davies, urged them! to pay the increased contributions asked for, and he was sure that the men of Aberdare, re- membering the P.D. dispute, would be the first to do so, but they must demand their freedom not only politically and religiously, but also economically, for to-day they were bound in the bonds of obiigarchy and the throes of cap- italism. While the few controlled the means of living they would control the men's method of living as well. They wanted a little earthquake to waken them up to a desire for higher and nobler things. The out. of work fund was a mere regrettable necessity, a palliative, a stop- gap that merely dealt with the effect of the present ungodlike economic system whieh was crushing out the life of the people (hear, hear). Men were to-day victimised for standing up for freedom, although they claimed to have abolished the discharge note. The employers were still victimising people, and in such a wav that the men could not obtain the bene- fits of the present funds of the Federation. He closed with an eloquent appeal to Christian men to do their duty in this matter (loud ap- plause). A vote of thanks was accorded the speakers. Mr. Ben Davies, in replying, said that Mr. Winston had been preaching the gospel of a Socialistic heaven, but he wished to remind those present that while they were Waiting for that the horse was starving and the grass was not even growing (laughter and cheers).—A vote of thanks to Mr. Stanton brought the meeting to a clos.

Meeting of the Day Men.

The Glamorgan Water Bill.


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