it ￼ American Notes. I X CO XCI LI AT O R Y EMPLOYERS. The expected breakdown of the ISiatioua] Industrial Conference summoned by Presi- dent Wilson, in which employers, Trade Unions, and the public were represented in three groups, came with the rejection of the Principle of collective bargaining by the employers, notwithstanding the urgent let- ter dictated by President Wilson from his sick-bed and read at the Conference. The employers stubbornly refused to adopt a re- solution put forward by the Labour repre- sentatives claiming recognition of the right of wage-earners to be organised, to bargain olkctively, and to be represented by re- presentatives of their own choosing in ne- gotiations with the employers on questions of wages, hours, and conditions of employ- ment President Wilson asked the Conference whether at a time when the nations of the World are endeavouring to find a way of ;avoiding international war are we to con- fess that there is no method to be found of harrying on industry except in the spirit and ijJ. the very method of war ? Must sus- picion, hatred, and force rule us in civil life ? Are our industrial leaders and our in- dustrial workers to live together without -faith in each other, constantly struggling -for the advantage over each other and "doing naught but what they are com- pelled ? The President added that the Public expected the Conference to remain together until they had established surer 111d heartier co-operation among themselves "Or until it revealed that the men who work ;and the men who manage American indus- try are so set upon divergent paths that all -effort at co-operation is doomed to failure." This was the last effort to. bridge the -gulf between the employers and the Trade Unions, and when the Conference put down the Labour resolution, the Labour dele- gates left the hall, Mr. Morrison, Secretary of the Delegation, remarking as he turned -away, Do you thing we are going to stay bere to be crucified from day to day." The breakdown came solely because the employers refused to recognise the prin- ciple of collective bargaining, which both Labour and the public groups supported; ^uid with the rule requiring unanimity in the Conference, the employers' opposition Was sufficient to defeat it. The head of the United States Steel Cor- poration, Mr. Gary, re-affirmed in the Con- ference his refusal to negotiate with Trade Union representatives who were not em- ployees of the Corporation, and declared that he would not recede from his stand for the open shop," and would not accept ar- bitration in the steel strike. In the name of the Labour delegation, Mr. Gompers declared that it was useless to "Continue the Conference, when real indus- trial issues of the day were to be passed over; and he stated that the Executive Council of the American Federation of La- bour had adopted a resolution, extending both moral and financial support to the steel workers on strike. THE COAL CRISIS IN AMERICA. I In an effort to stave off the threatened 'strike of the bituminous coal miners called for November 1st, joint conferences have been held between the Secretary of Labour and the Wage Committee of the miners. The negotiations have been fruitless. The -chairman of the Strike Investigati'on Com- mittee of the Senate has gloomily predicted the failure of the Secretary oif Lalxmr's efforts to prevent the strike, and has de- clared that an industrial calamity is im- pending, deliberately organised by 400,000 men under the leadership of what he termed the new autocracy." -LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. I At the end of last week it was announced that the strike of longshoremen, which had practically paralysed work in New York Harbour, was over. Nevertheless, work has not been resumed, because some sec- tions of the workers are dissatisfied with the settlement. Nearly half of the local Unions have repudiated it, and are demand- ing a wage of one dollar an hour, with two -dollars an hour overtime. THE RAILROAD CONTROVERSY. I The Plumb Plan League has now issued its answer to the Cummins bill, and the issue over the American railroads has crys tallised into Plumb versus Cummins on very much the same lines as Sankey versus Duckham in the case of British coal. The Plumb Plan, it will be remembered, which is embodied in the Sims bill, proposed Gov- ernment purchase of the railroads with operation by a body of 15 representing the public, the managerial staff, and the workers in equal numbers, profits to be di- vided between these, and any profits in ex- cess of 10 per cent. to necessitate a reduc- tion in rates. The Cummins bill, which is put forward by Senator Cummins, Chair- man of the Committee that has been sitting on Interstate Commerce, proposes a return to private ownership, the establishment of a Railway Transportation Board to super- vise operation, the restriction of dividends to a fair return (now defined as 5*« per cent, plus | per cent. for maintenance charges), profits above this to be divided be- tween purchase of new equipment and a H labour-dividend for the employees, and finally the prohibition of strikes on the railroads. The Plumb Plan League, which is carrying on a very extensive and efficient propaganda, has naturally seized on the three great weaknesses of this proposal first, the financial difficulty of continuing to pay a relatively high rate of interest on the companies' watered stock (they estimate that the purchase price under their scheme would work out at about two-thirds of the present nominal value); second, the crying need for unification of control whereas the Cummins bill only proposes a permissive consolidation within seven years into 20 to 35 different systems; and finally the anta- gonising of labour by the compulsory clause, which has aroused vehement opposi- tion. The effect of this bill," Samuel Gompers has declared, would not be to prevent strikes; it would simply create law- breakers. I am forced to say to you, gen- tlemen, that if a bill of this character were enacted into law, I should have no more hesitation in participating in a just strike than I would now, regardless of what the consequences might-be." THE AMERICAN SOCIALIST PARTY. It is too early to estimate how serious are the divisions in the American Socialist Party which came to a head at the Chicago Convention and have resulted in the separ- ating off of two sections (if these have not produced further sub-divisions since). The first signs of a sectional Leftward move- ment became clear about January of this year. A portion of the Party membership, in sympathy with Russia, wanted a move- ment of the Party towards a communist basis of action. This tendency was parti- cularly strong- in the language federations that are a special feature of American Socialist organisation. These language federations, largely Russian or Slav, came to loggerheads with the executive, were sus- pended, and formed the Communist Party. This was before the Chicago Convention. Meanwhile the general Leftward section of the Party was busily organising a National Left Wing association and held a separate conference in June. This was held to be promoting seism within the party and led to the suspension of many mombers and several State organisations such as Ohio and Michigan. Consequently, when the Chi- cago Convention was held many would-be I delegates were prevented from taking part, and thereon the National Left Wing Con- vention met separately and formed a new Communist Labour Party after vain at- tempts at alliance with the Communist Party. There are thus' now four organisa- tions in place of the old American Socialist Party, one Communist Labour Party, and the Communist Party. The effects of this division, while unfortunate and (it is to be hoped) only temporary with regard to American Socialism, should undoubtedly strengthen the movement towards a united Labour Party for America.
200 British Casualties. In answer to Lieut.-Commander Ken- worthy, Mr..Long stated in the House of Commons on Wednesday that the number of officers killed, wounded, and missing in the Eastern Baltic since the Armistice was 39, and 161 men. The-vessels lost or damaged were two light cruisers, two tor- pedo-boat destroyers, one submarine, three coastal motor-boats, and two mine sweepers.
CASTING VOTE-A PROTEST. TO THE EDITOR. Sir,—Will you kindly insert in your valuable paper the following protest It was resolved, at a well-attended meet- ing of our Lodge, to forward a strong protest against the action of the chairman of the Llantrisant and Llantwit Vardre District Council in voting for or against a resolution and using his casting vote in order to defeat the demands of Labour, an action we consider to be against all rules of debate, and whicli we hold he had no legal right to take." He has created much dis- gust in this mining district, and will no doubt feel the effects of it when he seeks election next on that governing body.— On behalf of the Cwm workmen, WM. Hy. HOKPINS, Corresponding Secretary. South Wales Miners' Federation, Cwm Lodge, Llantwit Vardre.
NO-CONSCRIPTION FELLOWSHIP (SOUTH WALES COUNCIL). TO T'IE EDITOR. Dear Sir,-With your permission, allow me to call the attention of all C.O. 's in South Wales to the advert in this week's Pioneer re Rally and .Re-Union, on Novem- ber 15th, 1919. We are hoping to have- the pleasure of greeting all comrades at the above and are desirous of making this conference the most successful one we have held in South Wales. This can only be accomplished by all mem- bers making a special effort to attend.—I remain, yours fraternally, R. H. LEY, Secretary. 2 Caerau Road, Newport, Mon. October 25th, 1919.
I Workmen's Examiners. I I (Continued). I I I BY "SCRANTON." I Last \ycek several extracts were given from various sources dealing with aidents in mines, from falls of roof and sides. TIMBERING RULES. I One extract from the Coal Mines Act showed that the roof and sides of all double partings, should be adequately and system- atically supported; and according to the timbering rules, all such supports are to be set at regular intervals apart. CONSEQUENCE OF VIOLATION. I An extract from the report of an inquest showed that a colliery manager failed to comply with the timbering rules, with the consequence that one man was killed, and four others seriously injured. The coroner was very nice, and evidently did not like to hurt the manager's feelings. I cannot help thinking that the comment would have been different had it been a workman who was responsibly for the death and injury to the victims. This man- ager was indirectly responsible for the death and injury to these men on account of his non-compliance with the timbering rules, and is apparently to go scot free. A COMPARISON. I Take the case of a workman who fails to comply with the timbering rules, in respect to his own place. For all practical pur- poses it is his safety alone that is involved, but that will not prevent the company offi- cials prosecuting him with all vigour pos- sible. I have before me a list of prosecutions undertaken by colliery companies in South Wales, against their workmen for violation of the timbering rules. They were fined in amounts varying from ten shillings to two pounds. I do not complain of this, as men should be compelled to look after their own safety, as well as that of others. But what I con- tend is this, that managers, too, should be prosecuted for violating the Act. In fact, the law should be applied more rigorously to the manager than the workman, on the following grounds — That to all intents and purposes the col- lier risks his own safety alone, when he does not comply with the timbering rules, but not so the manager. When he does not comply with these rules, his safety is not involved, but only that of the men who are compelled to work under him. The number of lives endangerod by a manager in this way may be anything from 100, to 500 or more; their number involves everyone who uses this parting, whether they are hauliers, riders, etc., or colliers, repairers and so on, who have to pass both night and day, on their way to and from work. It is useless studying the manager too much, he should have these inquests in his mind's eye before the accidents happen. We should then probably- have fewer acci- dents. In the extract referred to above, the coroner said, We are quite satisfied in saying that this man lost his life through all "accidental fall of ronf," yet it is a pity that the timbering, rule was not fully car- ried out. 1 don't say this would have pre- vented the fatality, as I can quite imagine this place being timbered from end to end, and then a sudden crush knocking it all out." Has a workman ever been excused in this manner? They don't say to a collier when prose- cuting him for a break of the rules, that they don't think the timbering would be any good, but that he ought to put it up. Far from it,, they tell him, and they should tell the manager the same thing, that these rules have been draughted in the interests of safety, and must be observed any violations to be severely dealt with. I have had a fairly extensive experience of underground work in various capacities, official and otherwise, but have yet to see or hear of an occurrence; which the coroner said it would be possible to happen, even if the place was properly timbered from end to end. In my firm opinion no sudden crush would ever shift them, provided they were properly set. But as to breaking, that is another matter, and in this the breaking timber would provide a warning of the ap- proaching fall. There was insufficient data in the press report to guage the extent of the fall, other than it was a large one; 100 tons may be termed a large fall. Some time ago I as- sisted in the experiment of testing a colliery prop, 9 ft. in length and 8 ins. in diameter. It was subjected to a test of 100 tons longi- tudinally, and did not break. The strength of a collar may be found by means of a formula, used by mining engineers and students. I have calculated the load re- quired to break a beam 9 ft. long, 12 ins. wide and 12 ins. deep, with the wreight evenly distributed. It would hold 62 tons in 10 yards. This would be a fir beam; a deal beam of the same dimensions would carry 103 tons. Excuses have been tolerated too long, it is time they were put a stop to, and acci- deiitg prevented, not excused. A CONTRAST. I We have just been considering a colliery I where according to report, the manager found it too troublesome, or too expensive, I to timber a double parting, in accordance with the Mines Act, with the consequence that at least one life has been lost, and several men seriously inj ured in addition. On the other hand we have the case of the manager of the Victoria Pit, Xewbattle Colliery, who has taken such pains with the supports of the roof and sides of his colliery that he has not had a fatal accident from this cause for five years.. COAL MINES ACT A DEAD LETTER. 1 These are not isolated cases; there are scores of them in the South Wales Coal- field. Some managers endeavour to com- ply with the act to some extent; others do not trouble a brass button about it. I know of several collieries both by repute and first-hand information, where the Coal Mines Act is to all intents and purposes a dead letter. I do not blame the managers more than I blame the men and their so-called leaders, in face more blame attaches to the latter than anyone. It is to their advantage to have these things remedied, and if they do [not consider themselves, they should con- sider their wives and children. THE REAL SUFFERERS. I The greatest sufferers are those that arc left behind, the widow and the children, who have been deprived of their provider and protector. They have to continue the struggle; the struggle is hard with the breadwinner alive, it is hopeless for many years when he is gone. Here is an illustra- tion RIIVMNEY COLLIER'S DEATH.—A ver- dict of Accidental death was returned by Ir. J. B. Walford, the district coroner at an inquiry held at Rhymney concerning the death of George Henry Cox (34), of Price- street, a married man with eight children. Deceased was a miner engaged at the' Old Pits, New Tredegar. On Thursday last he was proceeding towards the face of the coal when a fall of roof took place. He was struck by the debris and killed." IF estenl Mail (2r/10/19). The man is gone; but what about those who are left behind, the widow and those eight kiddies? It is they who suffer most from that accident, not the man. They won't have an inspector in this district, so I am informed, because we might have Na- tionalisation of Mines, and then the miners would have a man on their hands. What a brainy argument. The man who advanced it ought to have that widow and those eight kiddies to support until Nationalisation came, and after. Talk about the callous- ness of capitalists. Can they beat that ? Look at this — "BOY KILLED AT NEW TREDEGAR.—A fatal accident occurred at the Old Pits, New Tredegar, on Monday. Samuel Harris, a lad, aged fourteen, who was engaged as a collier boy being killed instantaneously by a fall of Those two accidents happened at the same pit from the same cause, i.e. from a fall of roof. The latter happened the day on which the inquest on the former was held. Accidents have been known to occur upon occasion with such frequency in this district, that it caused one of the inspectors to remark,, that it was hardly worth while for him to go back to Newport at all; as he had plenty of work to keep him here. It is time the workmen themselves took action in reference to this matter, and re fused to be fobbed off with a lot of hypo- critical humbug by their leaders, as they have in the past. These leaders will prate in the most approved style about the hor- rors of mining and the alarming list of ac- cidents, yet they will from purely selfish motives, by fair means or foul, resist every effort to deal with the matter efkctively. Let them beware, lest there be an awakening.
The Irishmen's Vote. I MOUNTAIN ASH IRISHMEN AND. I THE LABOUR PARTY. I At a meeting of the O'Connell Branch of the United Irish League, held at the Catholic Schools, Mountain Ash, on Sun- day last, with Mr. Joseph Keating in the chair, the following resolution, proposed by Mr. P. Cronia and seconded by Mr. M. Donovan, was passed iinaniiiiously:- That the Executive of the United Irish League of Great Britain be requested to communicate with the Executive of the Na- tional Labour Party with the object of ar- riving at a mutual understanding as to which Parliamentary candidates are to re- ceive the support of Irish electors at the next general election, and thus effect a de- finite arrangement as a working basis be- tween the United Irish League and Labour, in accordance with the expressed will of the delegates at the last Convention of the League held at Leeds."
come would represent 175 per cent. on the total issued capital. We leave to the ima- ginations of our readers the profits which will accrue to the fortunate shareholders if 50,000 tons are so treated. No wonder that the shares are at a high premium to- day The scandal of the coal proprietors has been exposed; how long will the scandal of the oil proprietors be allowed to remain?
Nationalisation Notes. INEFFICIENT DISTRIBUTION OF COAL. It is well known that before coal gets tu the consumer, it has to pass through the hands of the middle man, and not through one set of them, but through four tiers of middle men, each rising behind the -other and each taking his toll of profits. When the Coal Control was established, it con- tinued to work through this wasteful sys- tem. At the Coal Commission, the evidence was so strongly against the present idiotic method of distributing coal that not only the Labour side of the Commission and the Chairman, but also the coal-owners' side themselves recommended that the present system be swept away, and that coal in fu- ture should be handled by Local Authori- ties and other similar agencies. Amongst these agencies is the Co-opera- tive Movement. During the war the Coal Control stereotyped the pre-war method of distribution to the extent of urging consu- mers to register through their previous dealer. As the Co-operative Movement re- turned a large dividend, and thus in effect sold coal at a lower price, a great man,, householders desired to register with Co- operative Societies. They were hindered in this by the Government refusing to give to the Co-operative Movement anything like the amount of coal that was necessary. They restricted it to its pre-war requirement in the main. Thus, for a great number of peo- ple the Government by compelling them to register with profit-making firms caused them to pay more for their coal. COALS TO NEWCASTLE.. During the early part of the war, under the system of private ownership there was a very great waste in cross distribution of coal. Thus, coal was sent from the East of Scotland to South Wales and from South Wales again to Scotland. But the prime example of capitalist in- efficiency is furnished by the fact that peo- ple were actually carrying coals to New castle from Scotland, from Durham, and other parts. In the autumn of 1917, the Coal Control divided the country in 23 areas of coal production and coal consump- tion. It was then found that in an area like North Wales, under capitalism, enough coal had not been produced to satisfy the needs of the inhabitants as consumers. Yet a quarter of its, entire production was ex- ported out of that area, and it had therefore to import not only the seventy thousand tons which it needed per month, but forty thousand tons in addition. This total of a hundred and ten thousand tons monthly was brought from all parts of the country, instead of- being brought from the nearest areas in which there was a surplus of coal. This waste was done away with, and it was computed that on the railways and other transport no less than seven hundred mil- lion coal ton-miles per annum were saved. This does not include the weight of wag- gons. If the weight of waggons were in- cluded it would double the saving on rail- way working. The total saving that this would cause if continued actually amounts to something near seven million pounds a years, or about 6d. a ton on the price of coal. If the Coal Control is not carried over into a scheme of nationalisation, and if the collieries are allowed to revert to, private ownership, there is no guarantee against this wasteful system being put nto opera- tion once more. For the system, though 't represented a loss of millions a year to the community, was profitable to private indi- viduals. POOLING OF WAGGONS. One of the great difficulties of the present system is that coal is largely carried about in privately-owned waggons. These wag- gons have to be returned empty to the col- liery to which they belong, and it was officially stated at the Coal Commission that half the mobile life of a privately-owned waggon is taken up in empty running. It is reckoned that we arc thus using over 1 third more waggons than are necessary. Further, these waggons have to be sorted out by shunting operations which are so complicated and so dangerous that on the average one out of 15 shunters is in- jured each year. The Railway Executive endeavoured to get these waggons pooled because of the national emergency, but the proposal broke down in face of the opposi- tion of the private owners. There we have another item which explains why coal is so dear under the capitalist control of the mining industry. OIL PROFITEERING. Even if the coal mines are nationalised, it does not seem that all coal proprietors will immediately be reduced to penury. For English Oilfields, Limited, the chairman of which is the well-known colliery proprietor Sir James Heath, have acquired the sole rights of the great oil-shale deposits in Nor- folk. It is said that over two million tons of oil have been discovered immediately be- low the surface at a depth of no more than 300 feet, and that unlimited quantities lie below. The oil yield is about 60 gallons per ton, and the company intend to treat over 50,000 tons of shale daily. The Financial Times asserts that if only 1,000 tons were treated daily, the company's in- (Continued at foot of preceding column).