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f Trade Union Notes

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f Trade Union Notes W By Trade Unionist. 1- COTTON TRADE PEACE. I The wages dispute in the cotton industry, which I have referred to in previous notes, was settled last week. It will be remembered that the Amalgamated Association of Operative Cot- ton Spinners had demanded an increase of 32,1 per cent., and the Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing Room Operatives were out for a 40 per cent. increase.. The following are the terms of the settlement: — (1) That an advance of 15 per cent on the standard piece price list rates of wages be paid on the pay day in the week ending December 15th, 1917, and' with this advance the rates of wages to remain unchanged up to and includ- ing the week ending Saturday, June 10, 1918. (2) That if the above is accepted the em- ployers agree to the Cotton Control Board making such levies on employers running ex- cess machinery as will enahlethe Board to con- tinue unemployment pay at the present rate lip to and including the week ending Satur- day, June 10th, 1918. AN IMPORTANT POINT. This agreement has been ratified by the oper- <• natives' organisations. Having regard to the fact that the increase granted is considerably lower than the demands of the workmen, one is rather 'surprised at the readiness with which the agree- ment has been accepted. The explanation pro- bably is that the men pait their demands very high in the first instance, because the employers threatened to stop the levies they had imposed upon themselves to provide unemployment bene- fit for those thrown out of work owing to the reduced number of machines to be run under the Cotton Control Board Order. As I have pre- J viously pointed out, employers running more machinery than was specified by the Board as the maximum, and for running which excess machinery special permission was to be obtained, paid a special levy on the output of such (excess machinery?) to provide an unemployment fund. The trade unions were not allowed to draw upon their funds to relieve unemployment, as the levies were designed to meet this obligation. v Now that the'new agreement provides for the continuance of the employers' levy scheme, the men have accepted readily a much lower in- crease than they would otherwise have done. The men have also, I learn, had permission from the Board to supplement the unemployment jgrant from their Trade Union funds, and they have already decided to make a grant of 5/- a week, which will be in addition to the grant al- ready made. I CANAL DISPUTE UNSETTLED. The dispute also referred to some weeks ago ill these notes, which is in progress between the workmen on the Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds canals and their employees, is still unset- tled, The Ship Canal Directors, however, made an offer last week to the officials of the Dockers' Union for submission to the workers at their next mass meeting. The dispute arises but of a <3laim for higher wages and altered conditions of  employment. Incidental trouble has arisen from the manager's refusal to accept a member of the j indoor clerical staff as a member of the deputa- tion appointed to negotiate with him. The direc- tors state that they are anxious that a friendly way out of he difficulty should be found at once, -and in the meantime, to avoid delay, and while negotiations for the permanent settlement are in progress, they make an offer of increased wages all round. The offer is not likely to be acceptable to the men, inasmuch a« the chief claims. of the Union are ignored, and the right of the Union to choose its own representatives for negotiating with the company has been questioned. The men will cer- tainly be quite' justified in refusing to consider any proposals whether satisfactory or otherwise until this important principle has been accepted. GOOD NEWS FOR RAILWAY CLERKS. With refe,reaice, to the recent settlement of the railway trouble it is satisfactory to learn that the Railway Clerks' Association has received an intimation that the wage settlement arrived at between the Railway Executive and the N.U.R. in to be applied to the whole of the clericalstaffs I of the British railways. This means that male -clerks of 18 years of age and upwards will re- ceive the advance of 61- per week, and women clerks and youths. under 18 an advance of 3/- 'per week, paid from the 5th November. It is most regrettable that women clerks are not to receive the same advance as the men, and it (seems to me that Trade Unions should refuse -any more to acquiesce! in any arrangement whereby women are to receive less favourable terms than men. Further, it is a keen disap- pointment that shop workers employed under railway companies are not to participate- in the "benefits of the agreement. Why, it is difficult 'to understand. The workers concerned and rail- 'workers generally should not abate any of their ,e.ff orts to have/ this matter rectified. I A.U.C.E. EFFORTS IN SOUTH WALES. The Amalgamated Union of Co-operative Em- ployees are very busy just now, particularly in South Wales. This Union, aware of the difficul- ty, the impossibility almost of securing work- people experienced in the dis,tributive trade, have chosen this time as the most opportune' to press their demands upon the various Co-opera- tive Societies. The A.U.C.E. scale is being in- sisted upon. Many of the societies have con- ceded, while others have resisted and as a con- sequence the workpeople have struck work. Now the scale of the A.U.C.E. is none too high, in- deed, one would say that it is not high enough, and yet I cannot help feeling that the A.U.C.E. attitude cannot be justified. By enforcing their -demands, it is evident that Co-operative Socie- ties are placed at a, serious disadvantage. They have to compete with the private trader, and it is their business* to induce as many of the pri- vate traders customers as they can to become members at the stores. By being compelled to pay higher wages to their employees they can- not hope to do so, and, in fact, it is quite pos- sible for the, A.U.C.E., if it succeeded in organ- ising the majority of the men in its own ranks, to strangle the Co-operative Movement alto- gether. As is well known, the A.U.C.E. is not recognised by the T.U. Congress, and in the closer relationship' now existing between the Trade Unions: and the Co-operative Movement, one of the essential requirements is that all Societies should insist upon all employee* belong- to a bona fide Trade Union. It is much to be regretted that the shop assist- 1 'Jlts all over the country are not well enough organised in the Shop Assistants' Union to en- force an adequate scale of wages and the neces- sary improvements in working conditions upon all employers alike. It is manifestly unfair to pounce upon one set of employers, and they on the whole theae.st employers, and compel them to pay wages and apply conditions of Labour which places them at a serious disadvantage as compared with other employers who are less sympathetic. Meanwhile, a keen struggle is being waged between the rival unions—the A.U.C.E. and N.S.A.U.—for the support of co-operative em- ployees, and I sincerely hope that the managing committees of Co-operative Societies everywhere will help forward the cause of clean trade- unionism by insisting upon membership of the recognised Trade Union as a condition of em- ployment., I IMPORTANT MINES CONFERENCE. I An important conference was held last week between representatives of the Mines Associa- tion of Great Britain and the M.F.G.B. to con- sider the principles of action to be taken with regard to men who have served in the Army or Navy and who may be disabled, but not suffi- ciently so as to be unemployable. The two phases discussed were: (1) Whether the coal- ?iiiiii.ing industry should take the matter out of the State altogether or, (2) leave it altogether to the State. 3: Now I have, for my own part, a decided ob- jection to either of the two courses suggested. By adopting No. 1 the industry is undertaking a responsibility towards these men which can- not be justly placed upon them. The disabled men would under these circumstances be the re- cipients of a form of charity. The mesponsibility is undoubtedly the State's. It was the State that called for his services, and in the special service of the State lie was disabled. It would not be just or even desirable to relieve the State of its obligations towards them. But the State, as we know it to-day,' is hardly to be trusted to deal with these deserving people. We know how very careful the people in high places, who for the time being act for the State, are not to give too much. What their idea of proper and adequate treatment to workpeople is we know from long experience. The safest way to deal with this important matter would be for the State to act in conjunction with employers and Trade Unions. I understand that a small com- mittee, upon which Mr. Vernon Hartshorn is to serve, has been appointed to go liato the whole matter.

Swansea Valley Notes.

In Reply to Mr. Woolf

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Abercynon Notes.

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Bridgend Notes.

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I RHEUMATISM- KIDNEY TROUBLE.

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