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[yiiNEfiS' LEADERS' OPINIONS. I Mil BRACE'S POLICY. Our representative met Mr William BrRoe, agent for the Monmouthshire Western Valleys Miners' Union, on Thursday, and solicited his opinion on the abandonment of the control of the outpnt scheme by the employers. I am very sorry," said Mr Brace, thab the control of the output scheme has been abandoned, and while I never recognised it as being a panacea for all the evils of undereelling, still it was a step in the right direction. I believe the owners will now see that it would have been a wiser policy on their part to have taken the workmen iu as active co-operators, instead of trying to carry this scheme through themselves. I RESTRICTION BY STOP. I Limiting the output by a five-day week policy, four-day; or stop week, or anything in that way, I am not in favour of ab all; it would not help us very much. Our men think too much about filling trains to dive deep enough below the surface of a policy of four or five days per week, or a stop week. to understand fche real meaning of such a policy and the result would be thut if we agreed to work four or five days a week for the next six months it would not be the men's or tho employers' faulb if they did not turn out as much coal in these four or five days as they ordinarily would in six, A policy of this kind for restricting the output would certainly prove a failure. As to the output scheme, I have simply recognised it as A METHOD OF BKG0LATING SUPPLY TO SUIT DEMAND, theaeby indirectly enhancing nrioes more so than directly attempting to deal ¡ "I the underselling so rampanb in this coalfield. As a support to giving the workmen a minimuir. wnge and the employers a minimum profit the scheme would undoubtedly have been of great value, but as a substitute for a minimum I have never betieved in it. One thing the owners' attempt has dene is to prove thab the workmen must work out their own salvation, and not depend iipon anyt-iia elee. I am open to confess to the belief that if the owners thought—(I now refer to those owners who refused to become connected with the scheme)—that the men were determined to have better wages than they have been receiving, it would have helped materially to alter their opinions towards the scheme, and for that reason I was very desirous that a conference should have been held specially to discuss THE WORKMEN'S POSITION, And what action they were going to taKe. Owing to a series of circumstances that conference has not yeb been held but when it will be held, instead of discussing what position they will take up towards the scheme they will now have to dis- cuss what their iiitureiction will be in face of tho fact that the owners' scheme has been abandoned. To my mind, the workmen's position is very clear-they must ab once go in for a minimum wage, through the Sliding Scale, of 30 per cent. upon the standard rates of 1879, To enable the owners to pay this, there must be a correspond- ing minimum selling price fixed, with a proviso that all contracts mado below the minimum selling price will be reckoned in the audits for the regulation of the workmen's wages at the minimum-i.e., assuming that we agreed that the minimum sailing prion shall be 10s 6d per ton f.o.b., and an owner makes a contract at 8 per ton f.o.b., that contraot would be reckoned in the audit at 109 6-1, which would mean that that owner, although he had only received 84 per ton f.o.b. for lIi coal, would have to pay hia workmen the rate of wjigas based as if he had made the contract at 1011 6d. By doing this the owner would have to bear his losses through underselling out of his own pocket, and not recoup himself out of the workmen's wages, as he is enabled to do through the Sliding Scale system, constituted, as it is in South Wal""I', without a mimmum. If the owners are really in earnest in this matter, and they desire to prevent underselling and punish those who practice it, there is not a more simple or fairer method than the fixing of A MINIMUM WAGE FOR THE MEN and a minimum selling price for tho owners. In fact, all the owners who are members of tltH Coalowners' Federation and supporters of the Sliding Scale agreement for the regulation of wages were pledged to supporb this scheme, and ie is the outside owners who are responsible for the break-up. It is the associated owners who really govern and manage the SlidingScale for the owners' side, and whatever the associated owners agree upon in the shape of amendments to the Sliding Scale that is what is accepted by the owners of the coalfield. What; I would suggest is that the associated owners should agree to AMEND THE SLIDING-SCALE II A agreement, tV giving the men ou per eent. mini. mum upon blie 1879 rates, and fix the selling price at 10s 6d without delay. This will make tho outside owners who have wrecked the control of the output scheme recognise the prices which the assoccislted owners agree upon from time to time because, no matter how badly united the men might be in the collieries owned by those outside employers, they will never take less wages than is paid to their fellow-workers In other parts of the coalfield." I PuLICY SUGGESTED, "This is the policy that I shall advocate,' proceeded Mr Brace, "and if the associated owners are as annious to pay those people back in their own win,«» they would like via to believe owners are as annious to pay those people back in their own agia, 44 they would like us to believe they are, they will grant these amendments to the Sliding Scale agreement withoub cavil. If they will not concede this, then it should be proof positive to the men that the owners do not desire any amendment, and thab all this bother aboub the control of the output to give the workmen better wages was a bit of bluff on their part. Once the men are convinced of this they will not rest until the Sliding Scale agreement has been amended in the manner they have been begging for years; and if they cannot got their minimum through a Sliding Scale, then they must do the same an the Midland men have done—get it without one." I MR THOMAS RICHARDS. Mr T. Richards, agent of the Ebbw Vale and Sirhowy Colliery Workmen's Association, stated to our representative on Thursday morning that on all hands he found an intense feeling of indignation manifested by the workmen at what they considered the very summary dismissal of the case for restricting the out-put. I have nothing to add," said Mr Riabardcj, to the expression of Monmouthshire opinion published in your columns this (Thursday) morn- ing, which, I feel sure, is a very fair statement of the feeling created amongst the general body of the workmen. I feel little doubt that the miners of South Wales and Monmouthshire will seriously consider the punishment of the recalci- trant owners, and the restriction of the output by a weekly holiday, stop week, or anene other method of the kind."