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Pontypridd Notes.l

Briton Ferry Notes.

IMerthyr Notes.

The Miners' PresidentialI…

Maesteg Notes.



Detailed Lists, Results and Guides

I (Continu&d from Page 1). I ter. There would be 780,000 building trades workers set at liberty at the close of the war and he trusted that their labour would be used in the best interest of the state in general, and not left to driFt as it was after the South African war. After the South African war the building trade was the slowest to recover. The Car- penters and Joiners paid in unemployed benefit three high-water marks. In 1904 it was £ 70,000; in 1906 it reached £ 82,000, and in 1908 it reached the high figure of £ 112,000. There was a direct labour under local authorities 'addendum to this resolution pro- posed by Cardiff N. U .R. (No. 6) and it was around this that the sole contention of the Conference resolved. Mr. H. Morris, of the Rhondda (S.W.M.F.) in particular made a fighting stand for direct la- bour. We were satisfied in our own minds, he said, that under the present Capitalist system of control in the building trade the best work was not being done. He also condemned the practice of local Councillors and J.P.'s apply- ing for ejectment orders, and asked the confer- ence to say, quite apart from the question of direct labour that the time was not opportune for the issue of ejectment orders. This, unfor- tunately, was either lost sight of later, or was regarded as outside the business. Mr. Lloyd (Bargoed) said that the body of the hall was prepared to argue that direct labour was not only possible but beneficial. The Chairman: Our Council has not pro- nounced any opinion on this matter. Mr. Lloyd, continuing, said that the Build- ing Trades .Federation had been trying to avoid a dispute at the conclusion of the war and had asked the master builders to meet them. but so far they had met with refusal each and every time. The masters were afraid to meet them. The majority of the master builders had risen from the ranks of the operative workmen, and, therefore, he contended that they had within their ranks men capable of undertaking the re- sponsibilities of direct labour, and to suit the work and see that it was properly executed. They could put their souls into the work when under local authorities. At present they could not put their best into the trork for the good of the community, because of the public spirit of the men who would only build for a return on expenditure. A Caerphilly Miners' Lodge, supporting direct I' labour, reminded the conference that the build- ing trades could themselves supply eyery grade of labour, as had been so happily demonstrated in the construction of the new Theosophical Building in London; where experts reported that the work was superior to that usually given and the economy of employing direct labour, as against contract labour represented thousands of pounds. Mr. Noah Tromans (Mountain Ash) thought it was a fallacy to go to the Government for a specific trade such as the building trade, and then to allow the administration and applica- tion of the results to remain in the hands of pri- vate individuals. The Local Authority should at least have the direct labour to carry the re- quirements into effect; otherwise we should not escape from the toils of the jerry builder, and our last condition might be worse than our first, by the creation of new houses, which although new, were not new in comparison with the old houses of the nation. The closure was moved, but it was agreed to allow Mr. Aldridge to speak before voting, and his speech was so provocative that the closure was lifted and the discussion continued after- wards. The English position was that they ab- solutely refused to limit the energy available to one type of effort, he said. There were some locr.al authorities that he would not trust with; the building of a pig-stye so far as their organi-1 nation was concerned. He advocated the local authorities being left in the position of doing what they thought wise. If they decided to utilise direct labour they could use it. Councillor Jones (Neath) argued that to im- pose the condition of direct labour was to neces- sitate the creation of machinery which they had not, and which would be an expense. The Barry Trades and Labour Council dele- gate opposed direct labour because it would stop Co-operative Societies undertaking build- ing. Blackwood Trades Council supported direct labour, and Abertillery wanted the word urge changed into demand. When the vote was taken it was— For the direct labour amendment 63 For the resolution as moved 103 Aid T. Richards, M.P., moved:- In view of the increasing seriousness ot the Housing Problem in Wales and Monmouthshire and of the possible continuance of the present stoppage of building operations, accompanied by much unemployment after the War, this Conference strongly supports the demand of the Welsh Housing and Development Association for the allocation by the Government of a sum of not less tliaia zC5,000,000, to be advanced im- mediately after the War on reasonable terms to Local Authorities in Wales and Monmouthshire for the erection of working-class dwellings." The South Wales Housing and Development Association, he said, had been submitted to what had been called the microscopic scru- tiny of the Miners' Federation, with the re- sult that it had been unanimously decided to ask every lodge in South Wales to affiliate with it. Looking after wages had been found to be only half of trade-union activity, and not the better half. Improvements in wages were large- ly vitiated by the poor homes and surroundings in which the people were compelled to live. We had sent men to Parliament to pass laws, and to local authorities to deal as best they could with the laws made; and would continue to do this; but apart from this a great need was felt for a responsible association which would de- vote itself exclusively to this work. And the needs of South Wales in housing reform were greater than in any other district he knew; and were continually growing. We had entering into the mining industry alone 6,000,000 per year, and from this they would see that the necessity of the application of this money to certain geographical areas. This was one of the things he hoped the Association would pay great attention to; that the congested areas should have first cilance. There must be no more peddling with this question; we must de- mand. (Cheers.') Mr. J. T. Cletworthy seconded, and the reso- lution was carried unanimously; an amendment that the sum be altered to £ 7,500,000 being withdrawn, owing to the fact that the demand had already been made for £ 5,000,000. Mr. W. Jenkins (Cymmer) moving-r- That this Conference, recognising that housing action by Local Authorities is serious- ly affected by the high prices demanded for land, demands the Government to enact at the earliest possible moment legislation secur- ing to Local Authorities powers to acquire land for housing and town planning purposes on more reasonable terms than are now pos- sible. (Ynvsybwl Trades and Labour Coun- cil). (Continued at foot of next column). instanced the unfairness of landlords refusing" to part with land unless at extortionate prices;, and expressed the opinion that their whole land" ought to be rated on the price they asked for a plot when it was needed for building. If housing reform was to advance land must be se- cured at a reasonable price; which was not the case to-day in the county of Glamorgan, where £100 to £1,500 per acre was asked for land. Mr. R. A. Thomas (Ynysybwl) seconded, an the conference unanimously endorsed it. It was decided to ask the Government to re- ceive a deputation for the conference to lay be- fore them its decisions. Printed and published by the National Labour? Press, Ltd., at the Labour Pioneer Press;. Williams Square, Merthyr Tydfil. SATURDAY, MAY 5th, 1917.