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LABOUR'S BIG FIGHT !

Re-Organisation of Coal Industry.I

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Steel Strike Ended. I

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Steel Strike Ended. I SOUTH WALES EMPLOYERS AT I VARIANCE. FRED MILLS DECLINES TO RESIGN ASSOCIATION CHAIRMANSHIP. The strike of the skilled steel tradesmen at the Dowlais, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar Works closed on Monday in its seventeenth week. The fight ends in something approaching a triumph for the men, for the £ 4 10s. per week wage together with the retention of the cheap coal privilege, is but a few shil- lings short of the original demand for a £ 5 flat-rate weekly wage. It appears as if the capitulation of the associated employers was brought about by Mr. Fred Mills, the managing director of the Ebbw Vale men, who last week made his men an offer of £ 4 ios. and cheap coal, and it is significant that the associated em- ployers, who until Monday's final confer- ence at Cardiff were making a stand on £ 4 5s. with coal or)64 10s. without, decided with unanimity after discussing Mr. Mills' attitude to call for his resignation from the chairmanship of the South Wales and Mon- mouthshire Iron and Steel Makers' Associa- tion. Mr. Mills declines to resign. At the conclusion of Monday's confer- ence at Cardiff between the employers and workmen the following report as to the terms of settlement was issued The settlement made by Mr. Frederick Mills with the skilled tradesmen on strike a tthe Ebbw Vale Works in his capacity as chairman of the South Wales and Mon- mouthshire Iron and Steel Makers' Asso- ciation, and which was not authorised by the association, led to a meeting being held at Cardiff this morning. The associated employers decided to offer the skilled tradesmen at the other associated works wages amounting to £4 IOS. per week of 47 hours, plus cheap coal where it is customary, that is: 41/- basis, plus 28/6 war-wage, plus 12 1 per cent. war bonus— £ 3 iSs. 3d., plus 11/9, total £4 10s. This offer applies to skilled tradesmen who were paid under the sliding-scale stan- dard rate of 32S. per week, and a propor- tionate advance will be given to other grades of skilled tradesmen who are parties to the dispute, and also to skilled tradesmen on piecework. This offer is conditional oil resumption of work. "It was unanimously resolved at the meeting of the associated employers to ask Mr. Mills to resign the chairmanship of the Association." The Dowlais and Tredegar men are no longer subject to the sliding-scale system, whereas the Ebbw Vale agreement still has cognisance of that system until December 31st. Thus the principle of the abolition of the scale has been won so far as Dowlais and Tredegar are concerned. I HOW WORK WAS RESUMED. I A mass meeting of the skilled steel trades- men at Dowlais on Tuesday expressed their approval of the terms of settlement and agreed to return to work immediately. Work was resumed at the engineering- shops -at Cyfarthfa Works (where an en- gineering section is still retained) and the Dowlais Works on Wednesday. Prepara- tions were also made at Dowlais to enab!e the whole of the idle steelworks to resume work during the week. A mass meeting of the Tredegar workmen was also held, and after a lengthy discus- sion the agreement was unanimously ac- cepted, and a resolution passed to the effect that the men would return to work on Wed- nesday morning, subject to the establish- ment of a satisfactory arrangement of the wages of unskilled men. The Ebbw Vale men re-commenced on Tuesday. I MR. MILLS' EXPLANATION. I At the close of a conference with the Ebbw Vale Trades Council and the skilled tradesmen, Mr. Fred Mills said on Tues- day: I had no notice of the meeting of the South Wales and Monmouthshire Iron and Steel Manufacturers' Association, and I question the validity of the meeting. The first I knew of its deliberations was in lead- ing the paragraph in the newspapers to-day. In the first place, I had made no settlement with our skilled tradesmen; in pdint of fact, the settlement was not arrived at until 3.45 this (Tuesday) .afternoon. Secondly. I have not acted in my capacity as chair- man of the association. Thirdly, I have made no offer to the men. "I can, therefore, leave to the imagina- tion the process by which the remaining members of the association held their meet- ing, and decided, in his absence, to con- demn their chairman and call for his re- signation, whoch he has no intention of giving. Last week the Ebbw Vale Trades and Labour Council made an offer on behalf of the skilled tradesmen, and I accepted those terms this afternoon; after discussion with the Trades and Labour Council and repre- sentatives of the skilled men." I THE LONDON CONFERENCE. The following statement was made by the Ebbw Vale workmen's representatives at Sunday's mass meeting as to the proceed- ings at the London conference — The final offer of the associated employers was a weekly wage of £ 4 5s. with cheap coal, or £ 4 10s. without cheap coal. It was pointed out to the Ministry that this offer was nothing like so satisfactory as the offer made to the Ebbw Vale men by Mr. Freder- isk Mills, managing director of the Ebbw Vale Company, and eventually the men re- jected the offer of the associated steelmas- ters. Representatives of the Ebbw Vale, Dow- lais and Tredegar men subsequently met to discuss the offer made to the Ebbw Vale men by Mr. Mills, which, according to a telegram he had sent to, the Ministry of La- bour, Mr. Mills' offer was embodied in the following memorandum under date October 21st, 1919 :— At a joint meeting held at the Ebbw Vale Company's board room, a deputa- tion from the Ebbw Vale Trades and La- bour Council made the following propo- sals on behalf of the skilled men, which were greed upon (1) That they agree to accept the terms of the Pontypool settlement { £ 4 IOS.) of Thursday last, plus cheap coal. (2) They agree to return to work on the sliding scale associated with the South Wales and Monmouthshire steel workers, and to remain under the scale until 31st December, 1919, and to be guided by the terms and provisions of the scale of the Conciliation Board attached thereto. (3) It is understood that the Pontypool terms embrace a flat rate for all grades, but in this agreement the amount ex- cludes those workmen who in the past have received a higher rate of pay, but the arrangements to be personal to the men and not to the job in which they are employed. (4) They agree to a discussion with a view to amending the present hours of work. which are considered by the com- pany to be inconvenient. (5) They agree in principle to the work- ing of the double shift in the machine shop, but reserve a final decision pending a discussion of details with the company's chief engineer. (6) It is agreed that all shifts and over- time wages and conditions relating to ap- prentices, machine men's wages, markers off rates, and those of a similar class of men be discussed as soon aiter the re- sumption of work as possible.. After consideration the delegates meeting agreed to recommend back to the district rha: the Ebbw Vale men should accept these teims, subject to certain amendments to the second and fifth clauses. Addressing the mass meeting at Ebbw I Vale Mr. David Evans, organiser, said that the agreement arrived at with Mr. Mills was in every way a fair compromise and a rea- sonable settlement, one which he thought the men would be well advised to accept. Unfortunately, other employers—at Dowlais and Tredegar-had not seen fit to accept, the offer put forward by Mr. Mills/but he believed that the Ebbw Vale men would be doing their colleagues in Dowlais and Tre- degar a greater service by accepting the terms and restarting work, after which they could render financial assistance to the men at Dowlais and Tredegar. He strongly urged, as a matter of policy, that the terms offered to the Ebbw Vale men should be im- mediately accepted, as the acceptance of these terms would provide a basis for dis- cussion in the other districts. THE TERMS ACCEPTED.. After a lengthy discussion it was unani- mousl3, agreed that the Ebbw Vale men ac- cept the terms offered them, and that they resume work on condition that certain amendments, which were already practical- ly agreed to. in Clauses 2 and 5 were effected, and further that when they return they levy themselves to the extent of IDS. per week single men in order to assist their colleagues at Dowlais and Tredegar to ob- tain the same conditions as those offered at Ebbw Vale. It was further decided unanimously that representatives from Ebbw Vale should at- tend Dowlais and Tredegar meetings in or- der to explain to those men the Ebbw Vale position.

Not Abused.

Engineers' Wages.

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