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SPORTS AND PASTIMES.I

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WORIC AND WORKERS. I

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WORIC AND WORKERS. I The London master builders, following on the decisive rejection of the terms they offered to their men, have sent their demand -,o the National Federation of Building Trade Employers of Great Britain and Ireland that hey should keep the promise made on May litli and declare a national look-out. If a national lock-out is declared half a million men will be affected. In the event of the National Federation adopting the suggestion of the Loudon master builders a ballot of members would have first to be taken. A special council would also have to be called to approve the ballot paper circulated. It is not likely that any meeting of the council will be held until June 9th, and in that case some time would elapse before a lock-out could be effective. The dispute has now been narrowed down practically to the question of the C -mloyraeit of non-unionists, although the men declare that the money penalty; nominally dead, in reality remains in operation. The present situation offers another illustration, remarks the (Uohv, of the tendency in the labour world to reject the advice of leaders. The officials of the London Building Indusfries Federation were in favour of the latest terms being ac- cepted, but did not offer any official advice in this direction. At present the dispute affects two bodies only—the London' Master Builders' Associa- tion on the one side, and the Building Indus- trie's Federation oil the other. The hitter comprises the eleven trade unions most closely associated with the industry, and can, there- fore, claim to represent the men's side in the dispute. The Master Builders' Association, on the other hand; dees not represent the ol t l l?? (?tIlL whole of the building trade, and therein is the difficulty of its position. It has a member- ship of about 3O0. and includes all the big firms, about twenty, who undertake the most important class of work, such as Government offices and other public buildings, but outside its ranks there are probably 3,000 or 4.000 builders employing a few hands only within a radius of twenty miles of Charing Cross. These smaller concerns have as yet taken no part in the struggle, and their work has not been interfered with irl any way. The fact that the dispute affects one firm and does not affect another makes it ex- tremely difficult, says the Time*, to estimate the loss to trade and to the community7 generally which this prolonged struggle has caused. While the work on the new County Hall, for instance, is practically at a stand- still because the contractors are members of the Master Builders' Association, operations are in full swing on certain buildings in Kingsway where the employers are not in the association, and at Millbank, where the work is being done by a Southend firm. In the last ballot on the employers' proposals 27,000 men voted, but these men are not all out of work at the present time. It is known that many'of the men have obtained work with firms outside the Masters' Association, this being particularly so in the case of the labourers, whose funds available for lock-out pay were exhausted at an early stage of the dispute. Others have obtained irregular work, but there are still some thousands of men who are living on the lock out pay pro- vided by the unions and on the assistance received from the public. One hears stories of pitiable poverty, of whole families dependent on the earnings of one small child, of delicate wives turning out to earn just, enough to keep the landlord quiet, and pawning every thing that is pawn- nble. even to their insufficient clothing. But they seem to have no thought of giving in, writes a correspondent. It's not the men's fault that they, are out," they say, "but they can't go back on the masters' terms. That would be to make themselves slaves." The avps. 'F l ie housewife is apt to looll askance at a strike and to pity the blindness of the menfolk, but in tliis lock-out the men have their entire sympathy. A crisis has arisen in the building trades in Stroud and district, in consequence of the issue by the Master Builders' Association of what is termed "a black list" of certain men, whereby they are prevented from ob- taining employment in the neighbourhood. Trade unionists assert that this is "victimisa- tion in its worst form." and- have demanded the withdrawal of the document. At the National Conference of the Amal- gamated Associ'tticn of Tramway and Vchicle Worke-'s at Blackburn, a scheme for inc; casing Insurance Act contributions was reierred to the branches. Messrs. 13rivsliaw (Bradkm.), Powell (Salford), and Parsops (Portsmouth) opposed the suggestion, stating that it would have disastrous results in re- Dtt N, i t-, s (Man- chester) alleged that there was an enormous amount cf malingering, but as the novelty of l-!ie Act was out its working would be- come more normal. The general secretary sa-d that, though the Association had hither- to been fortunate in r. reserve fund, there would be extended calls upon it in the future At a conference between Warwickshire coal- owners and the miners' representatives held at Birmingham it was decided to grant ad- vances to the surfacemen varying from 3d. to 6d. per week. A largo number of men are aheet-od, but only those who are members of the Miners', Association will be paid the new rales. An application with regard to hi nourers, carpenters, and blacksmiths was not f/ueees^ful, but, these men will, it is under- stood, be dealt with on their merits. Sir John Randies, M.P., opening a new coal conveyor, which has been built at a cost of £ ?. P. to make Workington the most im- portant ecral shipping port on the Nori.li-West Coast, hinted at the possibility of a new pit being sunk at Workington, to tap the main bank seam recently proved under the sea be- tween Workington and Harrington. Mr. J. Eilis. director of the Workington Combine, S:IH1 West Cumberland, with its coal rich in by-products, and its fine iron ore, was pro- ducing iron and steel that were commanding the best markets in the world. West Cumber- land was just beginning to develop. The Manchester police have so far tailed to secure any concession to mollify their dis- satisfaction with some of the conditions upon which the increased scale of pay is granted. chief grievance is that a. man can only obtain the higher pay by agreeing to serve a longer time in the force before qualifying for a pension They want to get this and similar conditions removed. Representations to the Watch Committee having failed, the men sent a deputation to Lieutenant-Colonel Eden when he was conducting his yearly inspection of the force. Colonel Eden's reply was that the matter was outside his jurisdiction and must be settled between the men and the local police authority. The Watch Committee re- considered the question subsequently, but de- cided that they could not deviate from the answers they have already given'. They con- sider that the conditions attached to the in- creased pay are fai r. The return made to the North of England Iron Trade Conciliation Board shows that the production of manufactured iron in March and April was 9,077 tons, an increase of 283 tons on the previous return, but a decrease of 3,932 tons compared with the same period last year. The net average selling price of bars was £6 16.s. 6d., plates £ 6 7s. 0 46d., rails £ G 6s. 7d., and atlgle, zC7 2s. lid. Under the sliding scale there will be a reduction of 3d. per ton on puddling and 24- per cent. on all other mill and forge wages. Two thousand five hundred miners em- ployed on the Bargoed steam-coal collieries, jJio.nnouth, struck work on Thursday in cou- sequence of what is alleged to be the unsatis- factory condition of lamps. Complaints of de- fective lamps are stated to have been preva- lent for months, and.. various interviews have taken place with a view to redress. Examina- tions of lamps have been made by minea inspectors.

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