Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

7 articles on this Page

J Merthyr Trades Council.


J Merthyr Trades Council. J PROTEST AGAINST EDUCATION COM- j MtTTEE'S ACTION. I i DEPUTATION TO INSPECT TIPS AND RE- PORT TO L.G.B. V MR. CHAPPELL AND THE HOUSING [ PROBLEM OF THE FUTURE. f Last Thursday's meeting of the Merthyr Borough Trades aind Labour Council was en- livened by the introduction of the topic of the moment—the refusal of the Educational Autho- rities of the town to let the Abercanaid School for the Hon. Bertrand Russell's Peace meet-, ing: and an "all-meat" speech on Housing and Town Planning, delivered at hurricane speed by 5 Mr. Edgar L. Chappell, the energetic and able Secretary of the South Wales Garden Cities and Town Planning Association. • Coun. Francis, in his report on the work of the Town Council, said that the motors running between Merthyr and Treharris had stopped for economic reasons. The Council had come to the conclusion that they were justified in taking this course in so far as the Company were not prepared to pay the money which the Council thought the Company ought to pay. Then, the Troedyrhiw service had been considered by a committee and delegated to a sub-committee. which would bring its report to the Public Works Committee, but he understood that at the moment the 'buses were not running. Coun. Francis asked the Council to take a greater interest in the tipping at Penydarren, which had been fought so very keenly for a long time, but which had not been settled. Then there was the question of wages and salaries, for dealing with which there was no general rule. There was an epidemic at the moment from both work. men and officials, and it was decided to grant a war bonus of 2/- per nock to employees, and the question of salaries was relegated to a committee, which would also deal with the al- lowances to teachers who had left the authority la serve in the war. Dealing with the work of the Libraries Committee, the Councillor spoke of the Peace meeting which had been advertised for the Carneg-ie Hall, Dowlais, and which had been prohibited, from the fact that by a subterfuge it had been discovered that there was some- thing in the Carnegie Trust to prohibit meetings being held there. He thought that the Trades Council ought to take a strong attitude on this matter, since it was not a question of Peace or war propaganda, but the principle of free speech which was in jeopardy. The question of the water supply to the Rhymney and Aber Company, which had oeen exercising the minds of that Council for some time had been before the Water Committee, who 'had received a letter from the Company, or the Council of that place, asking whether the Merthvr Authority were prepared to re-open tH"rot1;,tÜ@ns with the authorities in London with a view to getting a loan for the pur- pose of extending the supply there. It was de- cieled to reply that the Merthyr Authority had not the slightest objection to the local author- itv re-opening negotiations, and if they felt inclined the Merthyr Authority would support them. The present minimum supply was 1 mil- lion gallons a day; growing to 1,250,000 by 1918, and 1.500,000 in nernetuitv after 1918. Coun. Francis appealed to the workers to take a more intelligent intere? m eduction ?t?- t tju> o-reat nght which Labour had had to mSe ? g? Se ?cond?y school. It was found th?t there were a large number of children leaving the Secondary School between the first and seeond, the second and third and the. Uhird fourth vears. which rendered the parents liable to a fine ef £ 1. There was at present a big call for labour, and parents were wi thdr, tw- intheir children and then complaining when ltd had to pay the fine. It was the only freè secondary school in Wales, and he believed, in a ""i-eat many other counties and he had tried to get the authorities to impress the par- rents that it was only in cases of great need from a monetary, standpoint that they would be allowed to take their children out. He thought that it was the duty of the workers to do all they possibly could to keep that po- sition up. Nii,, Dtvles (A.S.E. Delegate) asked whether anv communication had been received from the A.S.E. local representative at Ciardin re the smiths' wages which had been mentioned at the previo ITS monthly meeting 1 of the Council. That representative told them that he had written to Mr Marshall, but had received no reply whatever. His letter in the first in- stance to the Town Clerk had been acknow- led"ed. Coun..Francis said the matter had been con- sidered by the Labour Group, who had gone solidly for the 6/- advance, out the Council would not hear of it at all, and had simply ag- reed to give 2/6 war bonus. Another-A.S.E. delegate said that the Town Council was not taking a fair attitude in this matter at all. Mr Bert Brobvn said that he had been in- structed to move that the Council condemn the action of the Education Authority in refusing to allow the Peace Council the use of the Aber- canaid School for the purpose of holding a meeting there. They all believed in the right of free speech, however much they might disagree on the propaganda carried on by the Peace Council. He had pleasure in moving that "This Cnuncil should take the first available op- portunity of holding a. huge protest meeting under the auspices of this Council to protest against such despicable oonduct." Mr Jennings (vice-chairman), seconding, held that free speech should be defended in Merthyr especially because of its Democratic associa- tions. "They are setting up here the very thing we are supposed to be fighting against," The first part of the resolution was' passed unanimously, but the Chairman (Mr J. Wil- liams) refused to accept the second portion dealing with the protest meeting. Mr J. Adkins did not think that simply writing a letter to the Town Council would have the desired effect. The Chairman said he could not accept the resolution simply because it incurred expense. It was maintained by delegates that the na- ture of a protest would be lost if it had to be left until the Executive had dealt with it, and the lodges had had an opportunity to vote on it Mr Harry Evans said that he thought it was one of the objects of that Council 'to uphold freedom of speech. Chairman: So do I. but it cannot be done. Mr J. Adkins: Surely, you are going tcsmove in some wav to protest against the Education Committee for their action in this matter! I move that we suspend the Standing Orders. This was seconded and carried, and Mr Bro- byn again moved his motion that a meeting of protest be held. Mr Jones (N.U.R.) seconded, and it was carried unanimously. It was decided to hold the meeting on Sunday week in the Rink. Mr Harry Evans. in his report on the Guar- dians' work of the month, stated that their duties principally consisted in looking after the I I" interests of the poor, and seeing that everything went on all right. Since the last meeting the Assessment Committee had 'oeen met by the coal owners, who had agreed to an increase of 5 per cent in the ratable value of the collieries. This was not much, and he thought that had the Assessment Committee pressed the matter they would have got more. Mr Prowle, a Labour niei-itbei, was to have all the credit for this. for it was he who had agitated for it for a long time. He further stated that the officials, both outdoor and indoor, had made application for a war bonus. He agreed with the payment of a. bonus to all the outside officials, except the; highest paid, but he did not agree with the giving of a bonus to the indoor officials, whose food and clothing were provided by the Board. They had found that it had cost nearly £ 7.000 more to maintain the institution during the present quarter than it had in the correspond- ing quarter of last year, and that despite the fact that there were between 40 and 50 fewer inmates. This just went to prove the enormous increases in the costs of foodstuffs; and if it cost the Guardians this, thep it must affect the ordinary workman's household to a greater extent proportionally. Mr J. Adkins was not satisfied with the Guardians' attitude towards the indoor officials' application for a war bonus, but he did not pursue his point when Air H. Evans explained that the majority of the outdoor officials were married and of indoor single, and any war bonus granted would not cover the increased cost of living, and he thought that the indoor officials should be prepared to make some little s, CT, Iifice, A keen discussion took place on the question of sending the Labour representatives on pub- lic bodies to the Whit-Tuesday Conferences at Cardiff; but after a good debate it was decided to leave the matter as it stands at the mo- ment—that any Labour member desiring to go should make a request to the Council. Air Chappell, in his brief address on Town Planning, declared that the Merthyr Town Council had set a good example in regard to housing, but building houses had nothing to do with Town Planning, nor could he say that Merthyr had had very much to do with housing reform, which, again, was a different matter to building houses. Giving examples of the price we had to pay for the haphazard methods of the past, he pointed out the narrowness of the High Street, and said that a true Town Plan- ning Scheme would regulate its streets to the traffic they were likely to have to bear. If there was any part of the Merthyr district which was likely to be developed during the coming years, .y the present was the time to undertake the Housing and Town Planning Scheme to meet it. otherwise the desires of the landlords would of necessity have to be met. The beouty of the Town Planning Act was that it concerned itself with all the amenities of civic life, and its width gave a sort of "omnibus" power to its provisions so that if there was something that was wanted to be done. and which could not be done otherwise it could be tacked on to a Town Planning Scheme. Such a scheme con- cerned itself with the pollution of the brooks and rivers, and by its powers the local authori- ties could practically dictate the business that should be carried on in various districts and places. He was strongly convinced that after this war we were going to be faced with one of the greatest housing problems with which the countiry had ever been faced, and since the costs of building materials would remain up. the spe- culative private builder could not be expected to do even so well by the community as he t had done in the past. Yet unless the Town Plan- ning Scheme was adopted, the landowners and speculative builders would go on in the same old haphazard fashion of placing 50 houses on an acre when there could only be ten. In conclu- sion, he entered a strong plea that housing schemes should be taken in hand at once for the purpose of providing work for our soldiers on their discharge at the close of this war. Mr Chappell was thanked for his report, and the hope expressed that he would visit Merthyr again when there was more time to go into the matter at greater length. The Council then addressed itself to the question of the Penydarren tips, to which Coun. Francis had made reference in his speech on the Council work.—It was declared one delegate, who lives close to the place, that it was a dis- grace to the community. He also stated that pending something being done in the matter the Council ought 10 agitate for a screen to be placed over the archway, since in bad weather, wheM the water rose, it was a positive danger. He himself had had to fish children out of the water and if one ever got under the arch- way, it would never be recovered. A plea was made that a deputation should visit the tip between Merthyr and Abercanaid, the stench from which, according to Mr Idris Davies. was the worst to be encountered in SOlolth Wales. Reference was also made to the tip at Caer- acca, and Mr Jones (N.U.R.) moved that the ma t ier should be dealt with in a general way, and that a deputation of three be elected to visit the places and report to the Local Gov- ernment Board, since he believed that it would be futile to go to the Town Council any more in Jlie matter. This was agreed to, and the deputation was elected as foilows,M-LT- Enoch Jones (Dowlais), Mr Ichis Davies (lower district) and Mr S. Jen- nings (Penydarren). In the correspondence a letter was read from the Shop Assistants' Union asking Trades Un- ionists not to allow their daughters to take situations in shops for a mere pittance, there- by endange;ringthe position of the persons en- tirely dependent on the work for their liveli- hood. All girls undertaking work in shops should join the Un,ion.The, delegates were ask- ed to take the matter to their lodges. A resolution of the Southampton Trades Council protesting against the introduction of cheap Asiatic labour in the mercantile marine was agreed to. A letter was read from Mr T. 1. Mardy Jones asking the Council to hold a conference protesting against the charity clauses in the reuglations dealing with Sailors' and Soldiers' Pensions, but as the local Town Council and Pensions Committee had already adopted this attitude, this was considered unnecessary.

The Scottish Trade Union Congress…


Opponent Still Drifting.

Peace, Peace, When There is…

jThe Editor's Appeal.