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THE POXTARDAWE STRIKE

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THE POXTARDAWE STRIKE HEAVY PENALTIES FOR FIFTEEN WORKERS Considerable interest was evinced in the hearing of cases in which Messrs. W. Gilbertson and Co., of the tin and steel works, Pontardawe, summoned fifteen workmen for recovery of dama- ges caused by their breach of contract, at the Pontardawe Police Court on Friday. The claim against seven of the men was for C5 each, and against eight for L2 eacli. Mr. Villiers Meager, barrister, instructed by Messrs. R. and C. B. Jenkins, Swansea, represented the company, and Mr. W. Arthur Thomas, solicitor, Swansea, appeared for the men. The respondents were: Elwyn Lewis, Griffith Williams, Glyn Evans. William Harding, Arthur Williams, William Vaughan, Philip Williams, Alec Wil- liams, John Jones, Elias Thomas, John Rees. Evan Davies, Edward James, Edwin Rapsey, and Arthur Suff. The first five eases, all of whom are "tankers," were taken first. Opening the proceedings, Mr. Meager said the firm claimed damages for breaches of contracts. The men shonkl have been at work on Jan. 19 and 20, but having got the idea into their head that they would like to take charge of the works, they abstained from per- forming their duties. Apparently there was a question under consideration as to who should be given the position of dipper, a. man named Harding, or one named Humphries, and to settlel the matter Messrs. Gilbertson said "let them take the duty on alternate weeks." Afterwards the men held that they had a grievance about the matter, although it had nothing to do with them, but they did not quite like it and stopped work. Regarding the older cases, the eorrugators and packers, he did not quite know what the matter had to do with them. They appeared to have come out in sympathy, because they personally had no grievance, and whv they should have behaved in that manner it was impossible to say. The firm had certain amounts of wages of the men in hand, and he asked the Bench, if they were satisfied with the evidence they would hear, that the firm was entitled to damages, part of which should be provided for out of the wages in hand. Thomas Lewis, foreman in the gal- vanising department at the works, said in answer to Mr. Meager that the customary notice to cease contracts was one month. The mills were working on Jan. 19 up to about 5.30 in the even- ing, when some of the night shift men went to him regarding Humphreys preparing to work as a dipper. Glyn Evans was the spokesman and said that unless Humphries stopped dipping the tankers were not going to do any more work. The other men agreed. He told them they had better go on work- ing or they would be summoned, and he continued trying to induce them to work until 7.30, a" saw the men's committee, but still the men remained firm, and he decided that there was nothing more to do than to stop the machinery, which had been idle ever since. The men had given notice, but these would not expire for about a fort- night from that day. Cross-examined by Mr. Thomas, wit- ness agreed that Harding had been dipping all the previous week up to the 19th, and that on the latter date Humphries was put on. He would also agree that tanking was the most dis- agreeable work, but would not admit that it was an arrangement that when the position of "dipper" became vacant preference should always be given to the senior tanker provided he was effi- cient. Did Harding come to work on the 19th as a dipper?—No. And you told him that it had been decided that Humphries should dip ?— Yes. What objection would you have if the men wanted Harding to continue as dipper? Why stop him ? I take it one is as good as another ?-Humphries had the position before. You could have prevented the dis- pute by a little exercise of the "give and take" principle?-—I carried out instructions. And Humphries was quite agreeable that Harding should continue?- Yes; I understand that is eo. "Yes, the management could have kept the department going if they had let Harding continue," added Mr. Thomas. "Now I suggest that this prosecution is pique?" Mr. Meager (interposing): No, it is profit!  Re-examined by Mr. Meager, Mr. jJ Lewis reiterated his statement that Humphries was the senior man. He had been at the works 13 years, only hav- ing had a break of ten weeks away, • whilst Harding had been there no long- j er than six years. The arrangement made the Monday before the stoppage was that the men should have the "dipper's" post on, alternate weeks. Harding worked one, and when Humphries' turn came, the men objected. a member of the Charles Gilbertson, a member of the plaintiff firm, said he was present when the arrangement regarding Harding and Humphries was entered into. He, suggested to the men that it was an equitable one and no dissent was ex- pressed. He gave formal proof of the! damage caused, which, he said, was much more than the amount claimed per man. Answering Mr. Thomas regarding the preference given to seniority with effi- ciency, Mr. Gilbertson said they never considered themselves bound to accept the man put forward by the Unionists as the claimant to seniority. Addressing the Bench on behalf of the men, Mr. Thomas said Harding worked one week as a "dipper," and went on the 19th to continue that work and his instructions were that it was understood preference would be given to Harding as the senior worker. The men had not been anxious to create a dispute, but he suggested that there should be a little "give and take" on (Continued at bottom of next column-)

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Welsh Societies in Conference

Another Stop -at AbertridwrI

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THE POXTARDAWE STRIKE