Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

34 erthygl ar y dudalen hon





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THE ÉKGINEvIEN OF THE STEAM COAL COLLIERIES. THE SHORT TIME MOVEMENT. Yesterday an interview took place at the Royal Kofi- Cardiff, between the members of the South "Wal.-s cud the delegate* of the eugmemeu iu their -employ. Mr. John Nixoa sided, and the lllpmLCni 'of HIP .association present were :—Messrs. D. Davis, J. O. Biches, S. W. Keliv, D. Davies, G. Brown, G. Wilkinson, T. Webb, 1). Griffiths, and A. Dalziel, secretary. The delegates were Messrs. Will iam Wliitcombe, representing Aber- gwawr; Thomas Shanklin, Duffryn; Olho Cook, Aberaman John Jones, Maindy; and William Jone?, Park. There delegates were accompanied by several of their fellow workmen, and also by one or two enginemen, who, because they represented non-arbitra- tion collieries were not allowed to take part in the pro- ceedings. j The purpose of the interview on the part of the dele- gates was to make an application for the adoption of the eight hours' system. They pointed ont that only two men were stationed at the engines of the'rarious collieries, and as the engines were worked continuously, each engineman had to work twelve hours at a stretch, whether it were at night or by day. Their duties were important, requiring the sharpest attention and the greatest care and tbey urged that twelve hours was too long for a man to be kept at work who had that trying and responsible work to ùo. What they wanted was that three engiuemen should be employed, instead of two as at present, so that each might go on for an eight hours' turn. The members of the Association, without entering into the merits of the application, at once pointed out to the delegates that the enginemen were included with the colliers in the deed of arbitration, and that no al- j teration in existing arrangements could be made with them as a body, until the condition of the award was complied with, and an alteration tookpJace in the iron- works. They appeared, however, to recognise that there was something in the men's statement about over work, for they made an offer to the following effect, and this they stated was a change they had resolved upon, and would carry out at once, independent of any decision which might be come to upon the general question, or in regard to this'application. In future they would introduce the eight hours' mnit to engine- men employed at winding engines in all collieries where upwards of 300 tons of coal was raised per day. This arrangement, it was distinctly understood, would flffect 'not the men at pumping engines, or at small collieries, hut only those employed at the large collier- ies before-mentioned, and it was agreed to, not as a concession to the application of the men, but as a matter of wise policy, and to secure greater safety, and better management of the engines than might have existed hitherto, when men were worked for such long hours. The delegates still strongly supported the general claim for eight hours. They denied that they were under the arbitration, or were ever regarded as being under the arbitration until now, or that they were parties to the reference or the award. Mr. Wliitcombe, the principal speaker, said they had held aloof from the colliers during the strike and the arbitration, and this statement that they were governed by the arbitration award came upon them by surprise. The Association, after a great deal of conversation had taken place upon the point, suggested that the clause in the award in reference to dispute, should be put in force, and that Mr. Macnamara, the umpire, should be requested to state .whether or not the enginemen were included in the arbitration. The delegates were very firm in their refusal to submit the point to further arbitaition, but after the matter had been discussed at some length, they re- tired to consult together, and the adjournment for lunch was taken at the same time.. On the return of the members and delegates* Mr. NIXON, before they proceeded to business, said ho understood that one of Mr. Davis's collieries had stopped work in consequence of the demand made for eight hours a day by the colliers themselves, and he wished to read for the information of the colliers and the public, what Mr. Halliday, the President of the Amalgamated Association, had said of the eight hours' system among the colliers. This was contained in a statement of Mr. Hallidav's views, drawn up by Lord Elcho, yiven to him (Mr. Nixon) by his lordship, and headed—" Notes of my interview with Mr. Holiday, June 2U, 1872." It was ?.s follows■ -1st.—Thi collieries under arbitration—i.e., the Steam Collieries—have made no move for an increase of wages, and will stand by their bargain. for 20 per cent, comes from collieries outside the arbitration arrangement. eight hours' demand can only properly be made after legal notice. It is a general movement throughout the western mining districts of the country. The collieries under the arbitration should only move in this matter in the event of the iron works doiny; so. 4th.—The eight hours demand means eiylit hours actual labour, exclusive of meal tiir.ej. Mr. WHITCO^j'ce, returning to the matter of the inter- view, said they had consulted together, and were still unanimously of opinion that the enginemen were not under the arbitration, and they felt that it was useless to present the pioposal of the masters to the workmen, whom they (the delegates) represented. Mr. Nixox remarked that the speaks* seemed to be taking it upen. himself to say whi.t would suit the opinions of all the men of the Bhoodda and Aberdare valleys. The proposition of the masters was a yerfecily fair one. There was a dispute, and the masters proposed to settle the dispute in the only way open to them—by arbitration. There could be no doubt but that some of the enginemen considered t-hemselvfts parties to the arbitration because several of them signed the agrfe- ment with the award'. The men employed by Mr. Kelly and Mr; Davis all signed it. » Mr. WntTCOHBE said therV were twenty-two of the men present that day, and among them there were only two who had signed the agreement. Mr. NIXON Those two admit that they signed the agreement, and yet you refuse to refer it to arbitration. Mr. WHITCOMBE As an individual I am quite willing to refer it hack. Mr. NIXON Don't you think there may be other individuals among the men actuated by the same reasonable feeling. Mr. WHITCOMEE I don't think so. Mr. NIXON I am sorry you should think other indi- viduals less reasonable than yourself. As reasonable men I put it to you. Here is a dispute, which we pro- pose shall bo submitted to arbitration, and the only alternative is a strike. Are you prepared to say, We will strike;" because if 60, ve shall know what to do. You come to us and say "If you will not give us certain things we will strike." Mr. WHITCOJIEB That is in consequence of what we have been told this morning. As I said before, we had no idea that this question of arbitration would come forward. We were instructed to come here and ask for the eight hours, and nothing of the arbitration was ever mentioned. We don't intend to stop the works with- out notice we have given notice. When we come here you bring forward a matter that is quite foreign us. I declare to you that we knew nothing of tbe arbi- tration, and did not know that we were considered under the arbitration (hear, hear from the delegates). I declare to you we wiil not have it that wfc are under the arbitration (hear, hear). We have now only one alternative. Mr. NIXON What alternative is that ? Mr. WHITCOMBE We ask you for the eight hours, and you do not grant it to us, and we will not be responsi- ble for what may follow. Mr. NIXON We know what will follow you are going to stop work. We are not afraid of that. We have had the works stopped before, and however un- fortunate it may be, for yourselves as well as us, if it comes to that we can have them stopped again. B-e- collect yon are going away refusing to refer the dispute between us to a third party. Mr. WHITCOMBE We are going away under the im- pression that you have introduced a subject quite foreign to us, and that we have heard nothing about it before. We were requested to come here to settle the question, and if we were to settle it we ought to have been told what would be brought before us. Mr. D.DAVIKS remarked that the enginemen were either under the arbitration or they were not. If they were, they must abide by the award of the arbitra- tors. If they were not, then the masters could consider this application. But as honour- able men, the masters were bound to adhere to the award, and could not make any arrangement with the engineers which would supersede it. Mr. WHITCOMBE said the delegates could not give a decided answer. They must see those whom they re- presented, because the point was altogether new. They would leave the matter now, and could not be respon- sible for what might folio w. Mr. NIXON told the speaker not to use threats. Mr. WHITCOMBE disclaimed any intention of threat- ening the masters, and did net want things to proceed to extremities, but -did not know what they could do now. Mr. ROSSER, an engineman for 32 yeais, said he knew well the difficulty they were going into. They did not want to strike. The men could not live" without the masters, and must have work somewhere. They had come there to settle the matter if possible, but had been met by an entirely new matter. They had kept at work before when the colliers had struck, and had refused to join the colliers in their strikes, and it was hard now that they should be told that they were bound by the arbitration to whieh they wette not parties. Mr. WHITCOMBE thought it was useless to continue the discussion. Other members of the delegation spake, but the opinions on either side remained unchanged, and at last it was seen that no result couli follow the inter- view until the delegates had consulted the general body of the enginemen with regard to what they termed the new point. It was understood that meetings should be called in each valley to-day (Saturday) to consider their position; and that the definite reply of the men should be sent to the secretary, Mz. Dalziel. A statement of the master's argument was drawn up to be submitted by the delegates to the meetings and the masters, with a view of encouraging the men to give the matter full consideration, stated their willingness to allow the notice, the terms of which bad now nearly expired, to stand over, if it was so desired. The interview, which lasted four hours, ended at three o'olock. The delegates had lunch provided by their employers, and their expenses were paid.

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