Hide Articles List

14 articles on this Page

¡.....'' South Wales Miners'll…

Detailed Lists, Results and Guides
Cite
Share

¡. South Wales Miners'll ? Conference.  MR. WINSTONE'S PRESIDENTIAL AD- DRESS. I J THE TASK OF DEMOCRACY. There were 267 delegates representing 144.961 members—present at the annual con- ference of the S.W.M.F., over which Sir. James WilJstoJile presided, at Cardiff on Monday. In hip interesting presidential address Mr. Winst.ont said: "I know of no year within my -long experience more strenuous, more exacting, Caught with greater difficulties or graver is- sues than the one that has just passed and .gone. Unfortunately the year will go down on the records of history as one in which the nwst highly civilised v nations of Europe were "engaged in the most cruel, barbaric, devastat- ing wars the world has ever known. Straining to almost breaking point the economic and fi- nancial resources of the nations involved; laying Waste their greatest, most valuable an d bright- est treasures by destroy.ng the most virile and noblest of their young manhood. Whether the responsibility for this, the greatest crime ever ;1)erpetra.ted against the human race, rests on .1 Dur capitalistic systems on our method of secret 'diplomacy, on the kings, or on the Kaiser or whethei- it rests on the fact that the workers of the world have produced so much wealth, and have not been wise enough to take their 'share is not for me to determine for the mo- tnent. it is the imperative dutT' of the Labour Jirid Democratic forces to see that the responsi- bility is brought home to its proper source and "those causes removed, so that the Democrac- ies of the earth shall not again be inveigled in- to another Armageddon. The whole war is a v "ver-r- sad reflection on the efficacv of Christian teaching throughout the world, ■ and of our much-vaunted civilising power. Especially so when we remember that during the last fifty years through the progress in education, ad- vancement in science, and engineering, we have been able to almost harness the universe. We have brought Continent within speaking dist- ance of Continent tapped sources of knowledge, reservoirs of wealth undreamt of bv our fore- fathers, and we might have used them to give life to the people, and to give it more abun- dantly. But we arc pouring our wealth like a. "river to destroy the most sacred thing in the 'Ivoi,, [(]-III] ilia n life—and to pile up a. colossal 'd0bt The 'Morning Post' says that if the war continues for another year it will cost this "^ounti'v ;C4,000,000,1006. That you will agree Js a stupendous figure. Rising this figure at 5 per cent. or it may be 6 per cent., that is £ 2(10,000.000 yearly. With the pension allow- ce; it must mean an additional expenditure of £ 300.IXX);000 per annum. If we add our former 'lire-war expenditure of £ 200.000,000, it means that we shall have to raise a revenue of £ 500 000,000 in future years. I would not have touched upon these figures at all, only I feel it my bounden duty to utter a word of "gai ning so as to put you on your guard. For ■signs are not wanting even now, in the midst *Of all our national responsibilities, that the capitalistic classes are straining every nerve to 180 re-arrange our fiscal system as to place the greater part of the burden of the war through ll'(lired taxation on to the shoulders of the forking classes. On*- d-utv will be in the inte- l't of the men we represent to see to it that th" payment for the war is made out of the profits accruing from the nations' in- tlustriee, and OUT industrial system must be re- arranged on an entirely new basis. Had the 'Government taken ever the shipping and the mines instead of allowing the owners to use the war as a means to fleece the British public, '!ld pay a part of the proceeds into the Na- tional Exchequer.^ the people of this country Would have been in a much sounder economic Position than they are to-day. There will be a J flgh.t. and I hope the workers will not be so i i 'Oolish as to be led astray by false economists. This matter must be discussed in the lodges t iir Without passion and in the light of reason. An- W "ofher matter which must be dealt with is that -of an MIEI ease to the Old-Age Pensioners. I feel this is a matter whih will receive your Wliole-hearted support, for the high cost of liv-  ?g has reduced the paltrv 5/- to about 3/ and tins as the support of the most helpless and! '^Pi'ving sectioN of the community. Mr. Lloyd v George boasted of the number of old people who i ?culd be brought out of of the workhouses by th(, Old Age Pensions Act, but they must in- ?vitabiy return unless their case is met. The National Credit has been pledged to produce ) ^'Iver bullets it m.nst be pledged to meet this Charge. ;? ? Coming to the work of our own industry, we *ave sMi to regret the enormously large pre- :\5, "ventable deaths and accident rates which occur J* and continue without abtement in and about t%,e mmes of Britain, and in no district more ?o than South W ale, though, fortunately, we '?ave not had an explosion of any magnitude ?u.ring the year. Still, the death and accident ?tes among our men are much higher than ?hey would be were we to place a true value on S ?Uman life. In 1914 there were 1,205 separate ..? fatal accidents in and about the mines of Great ti,it-ain causing the deaths of 1,243 persons. i 1 the same year, over the same area, there ? 'W'Bve 160,486 persons injured by accidents, dis- bhg them for more than 7 days; and in 1915 there were 1,202 separate fatal accidents, cau- S|iig the deaths of 1,289 persons. I regret to say that no figures having reference to the injuries _n accidents have been kept owing to the ar, In the South Wales (or No. 5 Division) !n 1914 there were 368 separate fatal accidents, fusing the deaths of 377 persons, or nearly 8 weekly. During the same year, over the taulearea, there were 31,589 persons injured by accidents disabling them for more than 7 days. 11 1915 there were 317 separate fatal acoid- ents. causing the deaths of 328 persons. Arising ? ?it of this, I feel I ought to menlion some ??'y important experiments that have taken at the Government testing station at Esk- ?M?s. in Cumberland. Two important points IJere brought out: -(1) It is easily possible to mTe a very violent coal dust explosion without llw-e explosive gas; (2) that stone dust, if ? L??ed with coa4 dust in the proportion of one one I w!11 minimise, if not entirely prevent, ?? e spreading of a coal dust explosion. The ^tter seems very satisfwtory so far as it goes, ff^t there is a danger unless the stone dust us- is ?Rc??o?. The Home Office and the mem- j?? of your National Executive are carefully atching this point, and the latter are insist- '?g on the urgent need for the provision of "?st-proof trams. In th,- final report of the Committee on Re- ltenehment in PuMic Expenditure with Mr. IcKeraia as Chairman, it is suggested that ? e reduction should be made in the am- j nt of the Hom? OEce expenditure by refr&in ? during the war from filling vacant inspec- r., ates of Factories and Mines. We know that of the 15 Ino1"8 for the South WaJes ?sion are on military service; others Me ^ing on MiUtary Tribunals. I think we 'ouM protest against the absence of those ?' [ men or against the suggeston not to fill the va- cancies, for we must remember that every year sees just about half a million serious accid- ents m our factories and mines. And every day of the year over one thousand workers are killed, rnaimed or badly hurt. The inspectorate may not be all we desire, but.1 am certain we cannot afford to lose their services at a time when it is very necessary, and the employers are seeking to maximise the output from our mines, which renders it necessary that the in- spectors should carefully guard against the em- ployment of young persons under the age al- lowed bv the Mines Act. "Passing on to the economic aspect of the year's work, we are entitled to congratulate our- selves. The signing of the Conciliation Board Agreement of 1915 marks a new epoch in the history of South Wales and Monmouthshire, and a new regime so far as the rights and liberties of the workmen, are concerned. This, I believe, is the first instance in all the years that have passed that the Miners' Federation has been acknowledged in any agreement made between the colliery owners and their employ- ees. It is the first time for the agreement to em brace all future members of the '-N,liners' Federation, as well as members existing at the time of the signing of the agreement; and we have thus been able to safeguard the rights of the future generation, and enable them to par- ticipate in the privileges secured for them by the energies of the Federation. I feel sure the rights of the individual have not only been re- cognised as vested in the Federation, but for the purpose of contractual relationships the Federation itself is treated as an individual emoodying all his rights and having all the at- tributes of each individual workman. L3.Sitly- tardily, perhaps but nevertheless truly the colliery owners have recognised the full purport and purposes of the Federation by making it a condition precedent to obtaining any of the benefits contained in the agreement that the workmen to whom they are to apply are to be, and to only be; members of the S.W.M..F, "Wo have been able, through a decision of thelate Sir Lawrence Goome, to delete from Lord St. Aldwyn's Award all the disabling rules as they affected day wage workers. We have been able to establish a new 1915 Standard Rate by adding 50 per cent. to the minimum rates in Lord St. Aldwyn's Award, or by other adjustments. With a minimum standard of not ]es^ than t5 J per shift for all underground and sul fate workers. We have thus laid a sure foun- dation which this organisation had been striving for for many years, and which must be pro- tected with all the power at our disposal. We have obtained a bonus turn for a large percent- age of afternoon and night workers of from 61 to 10 1- weekly; an d the maximum has been removed. One calculation of the increase of wages rea- lised by the South Wales miners states a total at the rate of nearly 5 million steading per ai linn! This estimate, however has been challenged as excessive, but an estimate of 3 million sterling per annum is not questioned. If we accept the latter figure it is an achievement of which we may well feel proud. In saying this it must not be understood that I am satis- fied with the recent decisions of the Independ- ent Chairmen. "Another aspect of the year's work was the opposition to the Munitions Act, in which we won our point. But we are stil under the Defence of the Realm Act. which has destroyed the very foundation of British liberrty by pro- secuting, lining and imprisoning His Majesty's subjects, without open trial, ft is a disgrace to us as Britishers that, while, our noblest suns are sacrificing themselves in defence of liberty and justice, we are being deprived of these very principles at home. Conscfiption has be- come a. reality. It has been one of the most diabolical plots ever engineerd by the capitalist classes and landlord classes, and engineered for no other purpose than to enslave the workers. This will be more fully realised after the war has past and gone. The days through which we have passed during the year have been very trying and very exacting, but the days of the future will be more trying. There is, there- fore, greater necessity for consolidating our tor cos. After the war demobilisation of the army will commence; we hope it may take place gradually, for there is every indication that there will be lack of capital, with high rates of interest, depression of trade involving unem- ployment. The price of food will remain high; maimed soldiers will have returned, for whom ample provision must be made without the taint of pauperism or the brand of charity in any form. I feel sure you will agree that it is the bounden duty of this organisation, in con- junction with the parent body and the Triple Alliance, to protect the workers' rights in every way possible. The growing part which the Welsh miners are destined to take through their industrial and political organisation in freeing industry from monopoly and privilege is but in its in- fancy. It has already saved the soul of the T'rades Union movement in this country in a very exceptional crisis. The loyalty of the rank and fiie to the hnding of Conference decision was everything that could be desired. If the same loyalty is maintained in the industrial and polit- ical contests of the future. success is assured to tke Labour movement in Wales. But we must remember with gratitude that the present state of our organisation has been made possible only through much labour, sacrifice and loyalty to principles. Men laboured before our day to instil the principles of Freedom of Justice of Right-mmdedness into the lives of the people. The work of these men to whom we are so deeply indebted can only be continued by loyalty to the principles for which they fought and won and for which some of them died. We indeed owe a debt to the fighters of the past which we shall never be able to repay. We owe a duty to the present which necessitates the ap- plication of every fibre of our beings. We owe a duty to the future commensurate only with our indebtedness to the past. Let us, therefore, be Labour men in deed and in truth. Standing strong and firm and true. Let the last victory be but the birth place of a greater forward movement for the industrial and political emancipation of the wealth producers, and in the promotion of peace, good fetlowship and brotherhood among the peoples of the earth. Let us endeavour to see to it that these truths shall dominate our actions in future. 'In things essential, unity; in things doubtful, liberty; in all things, charity.' 71 Ambulance Levy Rejected. I The followign was the result of the miners' f ballot for a levy for ambulance cars at the I front: For 69,788 Against 67,68e Maiority against 7,894

" PROPAGANDA, NOT PROFIT,"-t

PONTYPRIDD. I

THE GWALIA GLEE SOCIETY.I

A SUGGESTION. I

Deddfau Dynol.I

Advertising

I The Appeal Tribunal. I

YSTALYFERA.I

Advertising

j W-N.C.F. Emergency Convention…

The Electric Theatre.

YSTRADGYNLAIS

PIONEER SHILLING FUND [