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Rhondda Valley Trade Unionists…

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I" Patriotism and the Child."

Trade Union Notes.

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Trade Union Notes. By TRADE L'NIOxNIST. In the MenIlyr and Dowiais Districts of Miners the campaign against non-unionists goes merriiv on. I understand that in the Dow- iais district very few of the men are at present outside the Federation. There are a few, how- ever. and, anxious to avoid a stoppage,, they, on Sunday last, agreed to further suspend the notices for one week. By that time it is con- fidently believed all Dowlais colliery workmen will be members of the organisation. In the Merthyr district, also, much progress has been made, all the lodge rooms last Satur- day night being crowded with men anxious to put themselves in compliance. But, unfortu- nately. a sufficient number are still outside to make the situation perilous. To prevent a stoppage next week will require, I am afraid, the co-operation of the employers. The de- putation from the South Wales Executive, who waited upon Mr. Askwith, of the Board of Trade, upon this question of non-unionism, were not able to secure any kind of assurance that the employers would co-operate. The reason, of course, was that the coalowners' representa- tives, who were also invited to London to inter- view Mr. Askwith, were unable to pledge the Coalowners' Association. It was then agreed that they should confer with the Association, and a further joint interview was arranged for Wednesday of this week. It is sincerely to be hoped that a mutual understanding should be arrived at between employers and employed at this interview, in order that there shall not be stoppages In any part of the coalfield on account of non-unionists for the duration of the war, at least. Are we approaching another crisis in the South Wales Coalneld P I am afraid that we are. Up to the present the trouble has not been brought wi-v proniineiitly before the pub- lic. but very soon the country will hear a good deal about it ifnless the coalowners adopt a more conciliatory attitude. The present trouble arises out of the recent agreement, and affects three classes of workmen, viz. (]) the ostlers, who nuin-bei- about, 2,000; (2) the whole after- noon and night shift workmenapd (3) the sur- face craftsmen. Concerning (1) the ostlers work their shift in two parts, four hours in the morning, and four in the afternoon. They demand a bonus turn per week, in the same way as the afternoon and night shift workers, on the ground that they are inconvenienced by this method of working more considerably than if they worked an exclusively afternoon or night shift. There can be no gainsaying that fact, inasmuch as they have to make two journeys to and fro from home to work in each day, and have not t%e privilege of a lengthy period of leisure. They can never go far1 "from home; they must be close at hand in order to go to work again to finish their shift. But the owners, insisting upon the fact that the ostlers are not specifically mentioned in the agreement, are only willing to concede half a turn by way of bonus. Difficulty No. 2 has to do with the Sunday night shift, and affects all afternoon and night workers. The agreement provides that this shall be an 8-hour shift, but the men contend that when the negotiations were going on last July, Mr. Runciman promised that the owners and men should arrange what bonus should be paid when it was worked. The owners demand that it shall be one of eight hours, and no overtime paid. The men. on the other hand, insist that the Sunday night shift shall be con- sidered an overtime shift, and should therefore be one of six hours. Difficulty No. 3 concerns the stii-face, crafts- men, and their new schedule of rates. Under the new agreement the standard rate for surface workmen, is 5/- per day, aiid this brings them to the level of the skilled craftsmen. The latter demand a higher rate. The Craftsmen's Union agreed with the owner's upon a, schedule of rates below the one adopted by the Federation. Nn«;. j all the craftsmen are not in the Craftsmen's Union, many of them are members of the Fede- ration, and naturally the Federation insist upon their own schedule of rates being applied to their members at least. Up to the present the coalowners have refused to concede these points, and the Federation con- sider them to be of so much importance that they cannot afford to give way upon them. There is trouble brewing certainly trouble so serious that it is not too much to say that it may involve a, stoppage throughout the coal- held. has iin. the wol l en A critical situation has arisen in the wollen trade in the Come Valley in consequence of al- leged combined action on the part of manufac- tuieis to refuse to allow workpeople to change their employment. A resolution was passed on Sunday last, at a mass meeting of the men held in Huddersfield, instructing the Executive ,of the General Union of Textile Workers to take what action they think necessary to safeguard the interests of the workers at a conference between the Executive and em- ployers' representatives, which has been arran- ged for this week. The Railway Clerks' Association have suc- ceeded in securing an improved, scale of wa- ges for women clerks employed by the L. & S.W.R. Girls up to and including 18 years of age are to receive 2/- a week advance now, and a further 21 a week each six months until they reach 161-; rising by 2/- per week per annum to 28/- weekly in London and 26/- in the country. Those over 18 years will have their wages raised to 20/- the maxi- mum being 28/- and 26/- for London and the country respectively. The divisions that exist between the work- ers in consequence of the multiplicity of Un- ions catering for their organising is a cause of profound regret. How long are the workers, through their divisions, going to make it easy for the employers to defeat their aims? Just now these divisions are being emphasised and accentuated. We have the N.U.R. and the Amalgamated Society of Locomotive Enginemen and Firemen defying one another, to the de- light of the railway companies; then we have the M.F.G.B. and the Craft Unions at logger- heads—-and so it is in very many of the large industries. And yet perhaps these very diffe- rences that crop up 80 plentifully only indicate that the time is fast approaching when a mere perfect a?d enicMrnt method of organisa- tion will be adopted, Surely intelligent work-I men will not be content to have their inte- rests prejudiced because of bickerings am- ongst thectse?? they will prefer fewer Unions and more unity.

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