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The Steelwork's Settlement

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The Steelwork's Settlement THE settlement of the steel-workers strike, on terms almost including all that the men originally demanded is a happy and fortu- nate, termination to a long class war that, :n Dowlais and Ebbw Vale, has spelled dis- astrous want and immeasurable misery for thousands during the months it has been carried on by the masters. From the first the indications pointed to a determined at- tack on the part of theated masters upon their skilled artisans in the works, and their annoyed demands for the resigna- tion of their chairman of their Association on account of his capitulation to the men, still further advertises the intention of the steel-masters to shame the men into abject subjection. On a previous occasion the masters carried on the war for eighteen months, and before they would have won on this occasion they would have had to fight for an even longer period than that, for so strong were the men in the know- ledge of the justice of their claim, that never in the history of trades union dis- putes has a finer fighting spirit been mani- fested by a set of workers on strike. We are delighted that the almost four months that they have stood grimly united in their fight for a fuller measure of life has even- tuated so well for them, and we congratu- late leaders and men alike on their victory. At the same time we sincerely trust that out of the fight so well waged will come a clear perception of the urgent need for a re-mass- ing of the forces engaged in the industry. With fewer unions and those linked firmly into a more unified amalgamation- for pur- poses of trade defence and aggression, the masters would think twice before repeating the tactics which have made this fight so odious and cruel from its inception. So long as the steel trade continues to be split into something like twenty different crafts, each with its own little Society; and each Society acting independently of the rest in fighting for concessions, so long will the fights, when fights arise, he long and tedious. When the steelworkers have realised the absolute interdependence of the labour units in the whole process of steel- manufacture, and have organised in accord- ance with that consciousness, then they can sweep away anomalous sliding-scales, or. anything else, and can institute improved conditions all-round with cue tithe of the effort that to-day has to be expended on very minor struggles indeed. With twenty organisers and secretaries speaking in the name of the workers, to an unified manage- ment, the result cannot be other than a clamour. Fortunately, however much of a clamour it may -sound, it is a clamour that has resoluteness behind it, as has just been proved, as will be proved again under iden- tical conditions if the need arise and the present chaos of organisation continues to exist. For whatever may be the opinion of organised Labour outside of the steel- workers about the folly of a multitude of or- ganisations amongst steelworkers, still everyone has to doff the hat in sincere re- cognition of the steelworker as a fighter. He is neither easily turned, nor starved away from his object. It is a fine courage, but one that leaves a long, lasting penury in its wake. To prevent that unity is urgently needed; and we believe it is coming soon.

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