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-HEN OGOF _TAREN GWYDDON.…

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I WESTERN MINERS* AFFAIRS

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I WESTERN MINERS* AFFAIRS The monthly meeting of the Western Miners' Association took place at the Dockers' Hall, Swansea, on Satur- day, January 15th, Mr David Lloyd presided over delegates representing 6,500 miners. Others present were Messrs. John Williams, M.P., Wm. Davies, D J Williams (treasurer); and W. J. Jones (Gwilym Bedw) It was decided that Mr W. H. Davies should act as doorkeeper and Messrs. Stephen Harris (Birchrock), and Thomas Lloyd (Tirdonkin), as tellers. CONDOLENCE. The Chairman at the outset referred to the loss they had sustained during the month by the deaths of Mr David Jones (Glyncoed), and Mr John Thomas (Clydach Merthyr). Mr Lloyd went on to sav that only one meet- ing had passed in 1915 without any fatalities being recorded in their Dis- trict. Accidents had always happened in the history of the coalfield, and it was surprising to have one monthly meeting free from any report. of acci- dents, considering that their lives were always in peril. A vote of condolence with the two families was unanimously passed. THE AGENT'S LOSS. I The Chairman next referred to the illness of their agent, Mr W. E. Mor- gan, and to the loss their avent had sustained through the death of his son. He felt sure that they as dele- gates sympathised deeply with the family in their sorrow, and he moved a vote of condolence with the family. Mr David Griffiths (Birchgrove), seconded, and the vote was carried all present being upstanding. THE NEW CHAIRMAN. I The next business was the installa-I tion of Mr Dd. Griffiths (Birchgrove), as chairman for the year. Before va- cating the chair, Mr Lloyd took the opportunity of thanking all present for the support given him during his year of office. He appealed for the same kindness to the new chairman, as it had been proved over and over again that in unity there was strength. He also thanked the officials for their help during the year, which had given him splendid exper- ience. (Hear. hear). Mr Griffiths upon taking the chair, was accorded a most cordial welcome. He said:— "I sincerely thank you for the very, cordial welcome accorded me here to- day as your new chairman, all the more so because I am practically a stranger to the majority of you. I feel I have been highly honoured by my lodge in being their nominee for the important position I am naw called upon to fulfil. We are beginning a new year face to face with one of the greatest politi- cal questions in the history of our country—a topic which for the moment almost dwarfs every other question that otherwise claims our immediate attention. To-day, mili- tarism holds sway, or at least en- deavours to rule our political and in- dustrial destiny, under the false pre- tence of national emergency. We are at war; we know it. Our depleted ranks are more significant than words can tell, and we are endeavouring to keep the old fires burning until our comrades return, or as many of them as fate may decree. Now, we are being told that one of our most cherished inheritances is going to be wrested from us, under the guile of extreme national crisis, and an ugly alien substitute offered in its place. This my-not exactly a new one either—has risen to a crescendo,— "Voluntarism must make room for con- scription." Let- us see. Has voluntarism turned out to be the failure our con- scriptionist benefactors would have us believe? Mr Balfour has stated that we already had about six million at- testations under Lord Derby's Volun- tary Scheme, and almost went into ecstasy at the colossal success of the scheme. Why then try another? Why not persevere with it? A nation of our dimensions, who can muster six million recruits in 18 months can- not possibly hope for better results even under conscription, in its widest form, and at the saimi time continue to be the workshop of the allied nations. I feel inclined to believe that it is the success of the voluntary system or Derby scheme rather that its failure, is the real cause of this Com- pulsory Service Bill. The Northcliffe press never failed to prophecy its failure before it was ever put to the test, and the same gang has had joyful dreams of the return to power of the autocracy, the country squire and parson, and an enslaved nation crouching at the feet of Mam- mon. ?r Asquith stated in the House on Wednesday last that this Bill would "not be used as an instrument to in- dustrial compulsion." What credence can we give to this statement? When, at the same time, if he has been cor- rectly reported-he says—"to provide complete safeguards is not so easy a matter." Does it not appear that we have a perfectly just cause for suspic- ion ? If Mr Asquith could be so em- phatic in his declaration of the Government's policy in regard to this Bill, why not be equally as emphatic in providing the necessary safeguards? We know that "unscrupulous and un- patriotic employers' do really exist. The South Wales miners have had good reason to know it. In conclusion, let me urge unity and perseverance in combating this evil. I feel it is a bounden duty on us to hand down this cherished inheritance to our children. The liberties we enjoy to-day have Laion Wo -dearly won feo- bøJightly oast uway. (Hear hear). Mr D. J. Williams proposed a vote of thanks to the retiring chairman, and in doing so he referred to the thorough and conscientious manner in which he had carried out the duties. Mr W. H. Davies in seconding re- ferred to the enthusiastic manner in which Mr Lloyd had carried out his duties. Mr Lloyd had worked his way to the front whilst working under- ground, which was the college of ex- d'rience, and he was always ready to do anything for the good of the men I he represented. (Applause). Ii Mr Lloyd suitably returned thanks I for the kind feeling expressed bv the speakers.. I COMPENSATION CASES. The report of the Executive dealing with compensation cases fought in the High Court was as follows.— Two cases, one from Glynet Colliery and one from Caeduke Colliery have been fought lately in the High Court and lost. The case of Mrs. Price, Glynea, was under common law. This with other cases were fought in the Assize Court. The other cases that -Try-ii rrVif v &Yr^^v-tarl f.Vit* m nvl- I ""Q.< 'V"'õU', ,,v .u'V .u_ mum 0if .G300 under the Compensa- tion Act, but Mrs. Price received C75 less, and that when she had been offered the £ 300 a few days before the Court was held. It was stated that Mrs. Price gave the strongest support to the Federation in the fight and had always adhered to the instructions of our solicitor. Therefore, the Com- mittee felt sorry for the position she had been placed in. The case of John Rees, Loughor, also came under con- sideration, this man, the Company said, had prejudiced his case by not reporting, and the Judge and the High Court decided that no compensa- tion was to be paid. We were given to understand that a number of motherless children were left behind without support. The Committee de- cided to ask Mr Williams to raise the matter of Price and Rees before the Executive Council, and if possible to enlist their sympathy. The Committee also to further consider the matter, and to see what steps might be taken to try and redeem the money lost to those families mentioned. Mr John Williams explained that Mrs. Price had &tood well by the Federation, and he thought it very hard lines that she would have to take £ 75 less than was offered to her. He was, however, going to bring the matter up in the proper place, and everything in his power would be done t-o make up the amount deprived of. (Hear, hear). A delegate pointed out that in the other case the coaj allowance had been stopped in addition to the compensa- tion. Mr John Williams said he would give an undertaking that coal would be supplied. The Secretary explained that the children were motherless. The report was adopted, and the question of coal left in the hands of Mr Williams. ACORN NON-UNIONISTS. I The Executive went on to report I that a letter was read from the Acorn Lodge asking for permission to tender notices against non-unionists. It was decided that permission be granted. Also to state that in face of the re- solution of the Central Council, that we could not guarantee financial sup- port at present. The Chairman asked how many non- unionists there were at the Acorn. Mr W. J. Jones replied that there were about six. Mr John Williams, M.P., said he would be going down at the earliest possible moment to deal with the matter, and drastic steps may have to be taken to compel them to toe the line. The report was accepted. CWM VALE VICTIMISATION CLAIM. A claim came from this lodge (went on the report) for victimization pay for a banksman who had been stopped. It was explained that the oldest hand had been turned to the Toad. It was decided that further particulars were needed before we could arrive at a decision, and that investigation be made and report to the next Com- mittee. This was agreed to. BRYNLLIW AND GROVESEND I SURFACEMEN. The Executive next reported upon the Brynlliw and Grovesend surface- men as follows:- It was explained to the Committee that a number of cases from these col- lieries of the non-recognition of the New Agreement, had been delegated by the Central to Mr William Jenkins to try and settle But the cases had been in hand for a long time, and no sign of meeting Mr Evan Willians, that the Commiteee decided unless they meet within the next ten days to adjust matters that some of the cases be entered into court. Mr Tom Jones spoke strongly on this matter. He referred to the great delay which had taken place, and to the fact that the employers had no intention of paying what the men were entitled to until they were com- pelled. He thought that Mr John Williams should bring the matter be- fore the Central Executive at the earliest possible moment. Mr John Williams said that un- doubtedly there had been a delay in dealing with the question under dis- cussion. In his opinion the situation was a curious one, and he ventured to say that Mr Jenkins had not been appointed by the Executive Council to deal with the matter. He had beeai closely oonnected with collieries for the past 32 years, but he had never known of a dispute being referred by them to the employer himself to settle. Mr P. D. Rees said he did not think it was fair for Mr Evan Williams to act always hia own way. In his opin- ion they were treated at Brynlliw more like dogs than men. Mr W. H. Davies said the cases I should be taken straight to oourt for settlement. There should be less of those eternal delays, and more drastic methods adopted. That was the only way they could expect to have fair- play. Mr Tom Jones said the Brynlliw workmen protested most emphatically against Mr Evan Williams sitting as an arbitrator on his own cases. They should not hackle any longer, but they should regard the two appointed as a negligable quantity. Mr G. Davies said that the sooner they took matters into their own hands, the better it, would be for all concerned. The recommendation of the Execu- tive was agreed to. GARNGOCH COMPENSATION. The Secretary further reported upon the decision of the Executive in re- gard to the Garngoch compensation case The report was adopted as fol- lows :—This is a disputed compensation case, of very near the same nature as the one reported before. And the Committee desired to press on the delegates a.t the District Meeting to carry to each colliery the importance of reporting every accident, it does not matter how trivial, as all the courts are making this a point against paying compensation. BERTHLWYD DISPUTE. Dealing with Berthlwyd dispute re payment for working in water, the Executive reported: The question of paying the percent- ag es on the item in the price list at this colliery had been before the re- presentatives of the Conciliation Board, and it was given to understand that if it had not been done, that they were going to report failure to agree. It was decided that we in- struct. the Agent. to enter the matt-er in court for the payment .f the full percentages on the item in dispute. This was agreed to. YNISARWED TROUBLE. The Ynisarwed dispute again figured in the Executive Committee report as follows: "This sore question has been on for a long time, and it was reported to the committee that the representa- tives of the Central had reported that they have failed to come to a satis- factory settlement. Also that we had sent a resolution on to give a chance to the delegates at the next conference to know the true position at the col- lieries, and to try and place a further em bargo on these men that had to a great extent changed the Federation. Also it was explained that the Special Committee who had this matter in hand was to meet after the District Meeting. In face of what has been stated the committee felt it unwise to withdraw the Taual grant for this month again." It was explained that this dispute had now been on for the past two years. Mr D. J. Williams expressed the hope that the meeting would again allow the C5 to be paid for the present month. Mr John Williams said that Mr John Davies had been appointed to make inquires on behalf of the Central Executive, but unfortunately he had failed to bring the matter to a satis- factory termination. According to Mr Davies the men found it absolutely impossible to accept the terms and conditions laid down by the Central Executive. There was one thing cer- tain, and that was that before the strikers would be allowed to rejoin the Federation they would have to pay up what was due to the Western District, and a certain amount which was due to the Central. He was agreeable that the best possible arrangement should be made with the men who were able. It was unanimously agreed that the £ 5 should be paid. Mr Fred Thomas asked what was the position of their secretary, Mr. John Rogers, of Resolven. As they knew, Mr Rogers had been the biggest victim, and at a meeting of the men on the previous evening, a resolution had been passed to the effect that the services of Mr Rogers should be re- tained at Resolven. to look after affaire, in the interest of the Federation and the Western District also. There was a rumour going about the place through the blacklegs that they had successfully defied the Federation, and they boasted openly that they had suc- ceeded in having the strike pay stopped to the strikers. Under the circumstances they felt that they should do their utmost in the matter. Mr Elias Davies moved that the matter be considered by the next Vxocutive, and he was sure that the the matter would receive the best at- tention. He would suggest also that their agent should make it known in the coalfield that the dispute still existed at Ynisarwed. Mr John Edwards seconded. Mr John Williams, M.P., said he would make a special effort to devise the best means possible to draw the attention of the whole of the Trades Unionists of South Wales to the un- satisfactory state of affairs at Ynis- arwed. After further discussion the matter wtta referred back -to the Executive for consideration. DRUMMAU COLLIERY. Reporting on the Drummau Colliery the Executive stated that the ques- tions of the price list and minimum wage claim at this colliery were left in the hands of the Agent to take the steps he thought fit, after further in- vestigation.

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