Heavy Woollen District Textile Workers Union by Ben Turner

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HEAVY WOOLLEN DISTRICT

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A SHORT ACCOUNT

OF THE

RISE AND PROGRESS

OF THE

HEAVY WOOLLEN DISTRICT BRANCH

OF THE

GENERAL UNION OF TEXTILE WORKERS

By BEN TURNER

1917.

PRINTED AT THE OFFICE OF TREK ‘‘ YORKSHIRE

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General Union of Textile Workers

(HEAVY WOOLLEN DISTRICT) —oKO—

HEAD OFFICE: Union Street and Market Street, Dewsbury.

BATLEY OFFICE: Wellington Street.

SECRETARY: BEN TURNER, 5, Talbot Street, Batley,

ASSISTANT SECRETARY: G. SAVILLE, 31, In- dustrial Avenue, Birstall, Near Leeds.

Telephone: Batley, 221. Telegrams: Ben Turner, or Weavers’ Office, Batley.

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BRANCHES:

OSSETT—President, G. Handley; Secretary, G. H. North, Runtlings, Ossett.

MORLEY—President, J. W. Armitage; Secre- tary, W. Walsh, 8, School Street, Morley.

SPEN VALLEY—President, S. Williams; Secretary, J. E. Downes, 82, Chapel Street, Flush, Heckmondwike.

LEEDS—President, G. Saville; Secretary,

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TEXTILE UNION HISTORY

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

For many years the Heavy Woollen District Committee of the General Union of Textile Workers have yearned for central premises for the district. Twenty-three years ago we used a room in Foundry St. Dewsbury, and for years we have had the rooms in Union Street and Northgate, Dewsbury. Although small they have been very useful, but with the growth in membership, the increasing office routine work, and the many social needs of members, it was felt that proper premises, owned by the Union, should be secured. In June, 1916, we were informed that the building belonging to and occupied by Mr. Auty, in Union Street and Market Street, was for sale. Your committee visited the premises and, after a consulta- tion with experts, bid a price for the property. Ul- timately a bargain was arrived at and, after receiving

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6 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

the

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INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

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TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

MY PAL GEE

It’s ovvur twenty yer sin naah We first began to meet;

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ALLEN GEE

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MY PAL GEE.

Ther’s been some troubles rough at times, At’s seemed too hard to face: We’ve had to tackle ’em; that’s all, An’ do it wi gooid grace. We’ve argued points aght varry keen, Fowks thowt we wor across When seein us i’street or loin Talk strong, that wor becoss Ther’ wor a big desire to see At ivvury thing should be I’ just agreement reit an’ fair Between my pal an’ me.

Time’s browt its change an’ trimmed us up, I’ monny a diffrent way, An’ shown us monny errors too, At wer free from to-day. We’ve made mistakes i’plenty, an’— We’r sorry for ’em too, But t’chap a’te nivvur made noan must Had nivvur mich to doo, We’ve worked together twenty yer Wi friendship broad an’ free, An’ may aw say a long time yet, Aw’ve my pal Allen Gee.

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10 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

CHAPTER II.

GENERAL SECRETARY Mr. Gee, our General Secretary, was born 64

years ago and entered the Trades Union movement in 1882. He cama into great prominence during the Huddersfield lock-out in 1883. This dispute lasted 13 weeks, and Mr. Gee was one of the working strike committee. At the beginning of the strike he was a member of the committee, Mr. Ben Copley being the chairman, but towards the latter end of the strike Mr. Copley resigned and Mr. Gee was elected chair- man, and later on President of the Union, a post he held

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GENERAL SECRETARY. 11

and Sons,

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12 THXTILE UNION HISTORY.

Some years before the war Mr. Gee was appointed by the

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BEN TURNER

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CONGRATULATIONS. 13

CONGRATULATIONS

Gooid luck to Ben Turner! ah’m reyt glad to see He dabbles i’ ‘‘Pooitry’’ a bit, same as me; Ah’m glad he finds time, as he’s knocking’ abaat To think abaat summat, an’ then, write it aat!

follo’d him

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CHAPTER III.

DISTRICT SECRETARY

The District Secretary (Mr. Ben Turner) was born at Boothhouse, Holmfirth, on August 25th, 1863. His parents were weavers, and his forebears were weavers and farmers on the one side, and on the other manufacturers, owning at one time Blacksyke Mill, Holmfirth. He went to the school at Liphill Bank until the new school at Modd was opened, and here he stayed until his 13th birthday. Mr. Turner began work, however, as a

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DISTRICT SECRETARY. 15

Colne Road. Later on they both secured jobs at Messrs. George Brook Juniors, in Firth Street, and in a few years’ time developed into weavers, bein employed at Messrs. H. Crowther’s Broadfield Mills, prior to Mr. J. H. Kaye becoming a partner. Our district secretary remained there several years.

Mr. Turner became connected with the old Weavers’ Union in 1883, being a delegate from Mr. Jesse Tattersfield’s weaving place in Dale Street. He attended meetings of the strikers and of delegates at the Albion Hotel and at Brook Street, also being pres- ent at the Town Hall final meeting for settlement in May, when the Mayor of Huddersfield (J. F.

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16 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

During the latter part of the eighties Mr. Turner, along with Mr. Gee and others, became one of the regular speakers for the Weavers’ Association, and he has never ceased to be one of their leading men on the platform from then to now.

In 1886 he made his first visit to London, attend- ing to his work one day until 8.20 p.m., catching the night train, seeing the great Metropolis early in the morning, watching the Lord Mayor’s procession, and attending in Trafalgar Square when the unem- ployed crowds were dispersed, writing a vivid account of the same when he arrived back home the following

Mr. Turner has dabbled in journalism from the early part of the eighties. As ‘‘Ike Longtung’’ he has contributed dialect sketches to the ‘‘Factory Times’’ and the ‘‘Huddersfield Examiner,’’ and as

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DISTRICT SECRETARY. 17

man’s Times,’’ again under the ownership and man- agement of Mr. Andrew. As a writer of poetry Mr. Turner has more than a local notoriety. Verses from his pen have been published in the Radical ‘‘Northern

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DISTRICT SECRETARY. 19

a magistrate on the West Riding Bench, and has probably signed more vaccination exemption forma than any other magistrate in the country.

Mr. Turner is one of the foundation members of the Independent Labour Party, and for years prior to the formation of this organisation was a member of the Socialist Party and the Fabian Society. For twelve years he has been on the Executive of the La- bour Party, was its vice-chairman at Newport under the late Keir Hardie, M.P.; its chairman at the Bir- mingham congress in 1912; fraternal delegate, along with Mr. Brace, M.P., to the Amer- ican Federation of Labour in 1910; and missed being selected for Parliamentary honours in a seat now won for Labour owing to being absent from the country. He contested Dewsbury in the Labour interests in 1906 and 1908, being at the bottom of the poll on both occasions. He has had many other invitations to contest for Parliamentary honours, but seems hap- piest helping others. Candidates for Parliament, County Council, Town Council, and District Council, have received ungrudgingly of his assistance for over 25 years. Albeit he has held a seat on the West

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20 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

CHAPTER IV.

THE FOUNDATION OF THE UNION IN THE HEAVY WOOLLEN DISTRICT

The foundation of Trades Unionism in the Tex- tile districts of Dewsbury, Batley, and Spen Valley, dates back to the sixties when the old Spinners’ Union was in existence. I have been unable to find any records about it. I have, however, before me a document printed in the sixties for the first Dewsbury ‘T'rades Council, being questions and answers relative to the commission appointed to consider the work of ‘Trades Unions. It was printed by George Harper, at the Dewsbury ‘‘Chronicle’’ Office. It is headed:

DEWSBURY TRADES’ COUNCIL.

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS PUT BY THE ROYAL

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FOUNDATION OF THE UNION. 21

under your observation with respect to the following matters,

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22

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FOUNDATION OF THE UNION. 23

Question 8.—Were many of the men on strike permanently driven out of the trade in that District by the new comers? Answer.—No. Question 9.—Were any contracts given up or any employers’ establishments permanently closed in consequence of the strike or lock-out ? Answer.—We know of no contracts being given uP. up; were any employers’ establishments permanently closed

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24 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

their work before its termination were molested by the mob, but not with the sanction of the Strike Committee, the mem- bers of which had publicly expressed their readiness to be sworn in as special constables for the preservation of the peace. Question 16.—Were there within your knowledge any in- stances of intimidation, loss, or annoyance suffered by the persons engaged in the strike at the hands of their employers P Answer.—Yes. Question 17.—Will you state the particulars of any such occurrences ? Answer.—We know of two instances; one, where two men were dismissed for attending a meeting in connection with the first-named strike; the other, where one man was dis- missed for collecting subscriptions for the support of those locked-out.

V. COURTS OF ARBITRATION. Question 1.—Is it in your opinion desirable that Courts of Conciliation or Arbitration, composed of employers and work- men, should be constituted for settling disputes between em- ployers and workmen? Answer-—Yes. Question 2.—How should such Courts be constituted

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FOUNDATION OF THE UNION. 25

There is evidence procurable from the files of the ‘‘Reporter’’ about the Trades Council and also the Carpet Weavers’ Union from the late sixties and early seventies, but the documentary evidence of Trades Unionism from minute books and cash books belonging to the Textile trade

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gold. He mentioned another case, where a parent was cutting the last loaf wp, and said to the children, ‘‘With the blessing of God I give it to

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FOUNDATION OF THE UNION. 21

many speeches, and they had heard her voice so often of late that they must be getting tired of it. (Cries of ‘‘No, no.’’) But there was one thing she wished to mention, because it was a personal matter, and concerned herself. (Hear, hear.) A party of men who had been at the meeting at that place on Monday, walked to Ravensthorpe, and fell into conversation. One of them, she had been told, said that her husband must have good wages, or she could not make the appearance she did. Well, she would tell the meeting, for it was nothing to be ashamed of, how much her husband, who was a raiser by trade, earned. For nearly two years his wages had only averaged 12s. per week, and when on full time they only amounted to 25s., for a wife and three children. They buried a child the week before Christmas. He had 12s. a week now, work or play, and would have while this

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by men belonging to Dewsbury, Batley, and Ravensthorpe, they drew up a scale of wages, which they beg to submit through the columns of the “Reporter”? to the representatives of both masters and weavers, believing it to be a fair and equitable one. The following is what “they suggest

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FOUNDATION OF THB UNION. 2a

offer; but the meeting also passed a resolution declaring that in their opinion a printed label should be given out with every warp stating its length in yards. If this latter sug- gestion was put into practice, and honestly carried out, it would remove one great cause of unpleasantness, for there is no denying the fact that many weavers have suffered con- siderable loss in

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30 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

branch has. The question in dispute is, our masters say, the reversibles or double cloths, of which there are seven quali- ties. Comparing our old rate of wages with the new tariff, we find the following reductions—15, 16, 16, 17, 174 183, and 18? per

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FOUNDATION OF THE UNION. 31

DIEU DEFEND LE DROIT. HEAVY WOOLLEN WEAVERS’ STRIKE AND

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$2 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

‘Defence not will be our watchword, ‘‘United we stand, divided we fall.’’ We are, Yours, most respectfully, The Heavy Woollen Weavers’ Strike and Lock-out Executive Committee.

HANNAH WOOD, President. ANN ELLIS, Treasurer. KATE CONRAN, Secretary.

H. CHAMBERS, Correspondent Secretary, Kiln Fold, Long Causeway, Dewsbury,

Then follows a statement of income and expendi- ture from February 12th to March 27th, 1875. The income was about £1,200. It came from mills, workshops, and men and women of all shades of thought. Amongst the donations were sums from:

8.

t

Hirst’s Carpet Shop Bagshaw’s Foundry, Ist and. Qnd d Subscription New Branch Mill Marriott’s Weavers, Birstal Company Mill, Mirfield Purlwell Mill, "A. Haigh New Branch Mill Union Mills, Heckmondwike, Fairfax Kelly’ a Hand Loom Weavers, Ossett, A. Archer

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FOUNDATION OF THE UNION.

France’s Carpet Shop, (Mr. Leeming) 017 10 Morley New Cloth Hall

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FOUNDATION OF THE UNION.

Railway Fares, Kirkburton, Shi Expenses to Birs

Railway Fare to Railway Fare to Barnsley and district

Railway Fare to Leeds and district Railway Fare to Shariston Main and district 7 Expenses, Dewsbury and Batley 6 Collectors’ Expenses, Carlinghow, Birstall, “ete 8

Relief was paid to 3,126 persons of

pley, ete. 8 tal

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The last page contains information and instruc- tions as follows :—

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DRAFT FROM AN OLD MINUTD BOOK. 37

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gathering they went into general meeting and decided to fix the contributions at ld. per week, and the death benefit at £3. Dinah Mary Auty, Mrs. Newsome, and Mrs. Nathan Dawson were elected the four trustees of the Association.

At the May meeting Charley Grant was made general secretary, on the conditions he himself sug- gested, for the next twelve months. They also de- cided to send to Huddersfield for a copy of their rules and adopt them for the Dewsbury,

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DRAFT FROM AN OLD MINUTE BOOK. 89

Oldroyd, a member of the Amalgamation Committee, meeting at Huddersfield: ‘‘That the meeting as- sembled proceed to appoint a person for a space of three months to canvass and collect the contribu- tions throughout the district.’’ It was moved by A. Cooper, seconded by Betsy Knowles, that Mrs. Kate Conran be appointed to collect providing she will ac-

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were paid to the Trades Congress at that gathering, and the General Secretary was granted one pound to go to a London meeting.

On January 24th, 1881, 15s. was forwarded to the Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Congress. That the committee had a trifle of money in hand is evident for a motion to the effect that sufficient be sent to the Co-op. to make the investment £80.

The General Secretary was given a month’s no- tice in April of that year. £20 was invested in the Co-operative Society, and Mary Daltry was elected by eight votes, to six for Mrs. Ellis, as delegate to the Trades Congress.

Officers and committee were appointed in Octo- ber as follows: President, Alfred Thornton; Secre- tary, John Pickles; Treasurer, J. Dyson; Ann Abernethy, Jane Lyles, Robert Baines, Hannah Darby, Martha Stott, Sam Stott, Allen Stringer, Agnes Summerscales, Mary Hannah Thornton, and Hannah Mason.

In 1882 Mr. George Bowden, attendance officer and accountant, of Dewsbury, and later on a well- known Batley resident and member of the Town Council, was auditor. Previous to his appointment he had been called in to help to straighten up the accounts.

David Sheard, then secretary of the Leeds Wil- leyers and Fettlers’ Union, and for many years the general secrétary of the Assurance Agents’ Union, was in March invited to speak at a propaganda meet- ing.

Allen Stringer was appointed collector for the Union in April at a salary of 10s. per week, a post he held for many years, retiring only upon illness in old age. At the August meeting Mrs. Ellis was

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DRAFT FROM AN OLD MINUTE BOOK. 41

elected to attend the Trades Union Congress at Man- chester, and in October John Rudland was entered inta the County Court for monies he had received.

On July 11th, 1883, it was resolved, on the mo- tion of Mary Illingworth, seconded by Sarah Eccles (who up to recently remained a member of the ‘Union) :—‘‘That this Committee recommends the As- sociation to amalgamate with the Huddersfield and District Power Loom Weavers’ Association.’’ To obtain the consent of the members it was decided to hold four meetings. Mr. J. Judge, of Leeds, then a well-known secular society lecturer and secretary of the Leeds Boot and Shoe Operatives’ Union, was invited to speak. On August 6th and 7th meetings were held at Littletown and Batley Carr and amalga- mation was agreed to.

The last minutes in that last chapter of the Dewsbury and Batley and District Heavy Woollen Weavers’ Association, on August 29th, was to the effect ‘‘that this funeral fund does no longer exist.’’

The old Ledger account of the Dewsbury, Batley and Surrounding Districts Heavy Woollen Weavers’ Association for 1878 is in my possession. The in- come and expenditure is as follows

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July 2.—Contribution

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DRAFT FROM AN OLD MINUTE BOOK. 43

a balance in hand of £151 1s. 9d., £5 was paid out to the strike at Newsome’s, of Batley Carr. This strike lasted some time, for in the next quarter’s balance sheet there are items for strike pay until November 17th, 1879. These were entered up weekly and varied from £2

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trates’ clerk at Dewsbury, and father of Mr. F. Ridgway, the architect, who has been transforming our premises into suitable club rooms and offices.

The September of 1882 saw a strike, presumably at Ravensthorpe. There is an item of £6 6s. paid for J. Walker, Sons, and Co.’s weavers. This oc- curs twice. and in October there is also the item,

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WEAVERS’ STRIKE IN DEWSBURY. 45

CHAPTER VI.

WEAVERS’ STRIKE IN DEWSBURY.

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We would venture to suggest that if M. Oldroyd’s were to publish a statement of the wages paid to the directors of the company, and to calculate it along with those of the weavers, it would raise the average considerably. As has already been pointed out we have been working at a lower rate of wages than the weavers of the same class of goods at Huddersfield, and yet the manufacturers of that town can and do compete with M. Oldroyds’ in the market without these everlasting reductions of wages which have made the firm so notorious throughout the whole county of Yorkshire.

Fellow weavers, our cause is yours, if our wages are to be reduced, you are sure

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WEAVERS’ STRIKE IN DEWSBURY. 47

fancy woollen of all kinds 3d). per string; and devons, plains, and seals, 3d. per string. The weavers protest against this reduction, which they state is

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(Hear, hear.) He urged upon the weavers to have an equit- able statement drawn up, and condemned the miserable pit- tance paid for cheviots. Mr. Stringer, secretary of the Dewsbury, Batley, and District Woollen Weavers’ Association, observed that because the chairman had murmured at his not being sufficiently paid for some work he had done for his employers, they had turned him away from their premises—({‘‘Shame’’)—as they were afraid he would make it known to the other weavers at the same place. This was oppression in the extreme. (Hear, hear.) It appeared from this treatment that a man had no right to complain of what was taken from him. Did they call it right that a man should have his bread taken from him? (Cries of ‘‘No, No.’’?) The weavers were a badly paid body, and the time had arrived when they should combine together to protect their own interests, and to show the masters that they were determined to be rightly paid for their work. (Applause.) A Female Weaver from the Bridge Mill then gave a report of a very unsatisfactory interview a deputation of weavers from that mill had had with Mr. M. Oldroyd. She said Mr. Oldroyd told them that (Saturday) morning that he was not prepared to flinch an inch from his offer. (Laughter.) He had promised to put the amount of the reduction on in a fortnight, if he could possibly see his way to do so. (A Voice: “If he can put it on in a fortnight he has no need to take it off.”’) Mr. Oldroyd appeared to be insulted because they asked him if he would stick to his promise to give them the amount taken off. The deputation guve him to under- stand clearly that they expected to go with the majority, and Mr. Oldroyd made a reply to the effect, that he believed they would. (Applause.) A Weaver: He skitted us properly this morning. Another Weaver: It was shameful to hear how he skitted us yesterday. A Weaver: He has given us a fair thing, and he will give us the rest. It was then decided to go in a body to Bridge Mill and endeavour to get the weavers out in order to consult them as to the steps they intended taking in the matter. The gates were locked, and a number waited outside until one o’clock, the ordinary time for leaving work on Saturday. As the weavers left the works they were asked to attend a mass meeting the same afternoon at Dewsbury.

On Thursday afternoon, Mr. M. Oldroyd delivered an address to a number of the workpeople at Spinkwell, but very few of the weavers were present. He stated that the

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WEAVERS’ STRIKE IN DEWSBURY. 49

tors insisted upon the reduction taking place. He also gave a statement of wages paid to a large number of fancy woollen weavers, showing that they had averaged throughout the past twelve-months 15s. per week, and that the tappet loom weavers had earned in the same period from 10s. 6d. to 16s. 8d. per week at the three mills. Mr. Oldroyd refused to meet any committee or person not connected with the works, but was willing to meet any of the weavers and discuss the matter with them at the mill. Having invited questions, or some one else to speak, one of the workmen came forward and advised the weavers to accept the reduction. A weaver replied to a statement made by Mr. Oldroyd, and stated that the committee had never misled the weavers as to what tran- spired at the late interviews. Yesterday, another meeting of weavers took place in Grove Street, when addresses were delivered by the mem- bers of the strike committee. There is no indication as yet of either side giving way. Proposals for a conference between the directors and the weavers, to take place on Thursday, were made—through the foremen, we believe. The remaining hands at the several works of the firm are now unemployed, and the places must be closed entirely if a settlement does not take place. We are informed that the average earnings of the weavers at Spinkwell during the year have been 15s. weekly, at Queen’s Mill (box looms) 16s. 7d., and at Bridge Mill 12s. 6d.

The strike pay, according to the ledger alluded to before, shews that on November 6th, 1882, the Union paid out to the weavers on strike "£21

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the weavers of this district to the disorganized condition in which every struggle against a reduction of wages

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WEAVERS’ STRIKE IN DEWSBURY. 61

a trade, but the best means of conserving its best intereste, and guarantee to every member that they shall enjoy the produce of their labours. We are, yours truly, THE COMMITTEE. We call your attention to the following extract of the rules of the Association, ‘‘And no case of dispute shall be sup- ported unless it has been brought before the

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TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

The ringleaders of this ten per cent., Is Ossey, Im, and Ark;

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THE FORMATION OF THE DISTRICT. 53

CHAPTER VII. THE FORMATION OF THE DISTRICT

_ I find on the first page of the first minutes book of the district the following :—

HEAVY WOOLLEN DISTRICT BRANCH OF THE WEST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE POWER LOOM :WEAVERS’ ASSOCIATION. Inaugurated January 6th, 1892.

An’ may the branch be quite successful, As it is greatly wanted; An’ if it

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and Talbot Street, were used for office purposes for the Union, and for many years without even the shilling a week for rent, light, or cleaning.

Early that year I had a communication from the

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DISTRICT EXECUTIVE

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THE FORMATION OF THE DISTRICT. 55

number of blanket and cloth fullers into our Union, and a very strong blanket and cloth fullers’ branch was quickly established. I+ is not pleasant to relate that after branches had been formed the raisers seceded, the blankét and cloth fullers, and the spin- ners’ branches faded away, and for a few

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attractive. Some very active Labour work was done at the Club until a man came to organise for the S.D.F., and he spoiled the whole show before he strangely and quietly slipped away.

These early days of the nineties were active days in Labour politics. Ald. L. Gledhill wae a promin- ent man in the Labour world, Harry Broome, the dyer and ex-soldier, J. S. Cooper, the auctioneer, and others were co-operating in Labour politics. The Tithebarn Street days, like the Foundry Street days, were days of much progress and fire. The late Coun- cillor Mark Wilkinson was selected to run as a Labour Councillor. Even Councillor Wilby, the noted market man, was at one time touched with the move- ment of the party. The ties were slender that bound many to Labour. The rope of sand parted and the Tithebarn Street political centre disappeared between beer, extravagance of policy, and jugglery of person- ages. The old Foundry Street rooms were too little for club purposes but they served until others could be got. Our present premises came to us from the Trades Council. we left Foundry Street we were, like the Trades Council, driven to meet in occasional places, but many years ago the Trades Council took two rooms over Bradley’s clothier’s shop in Northgate and Union Street. Then the JI.L.P. took them over. Later on the Dewsbury I.L.P., of whom Mr. Wil- cock, our vice-president, was secretary, broke up, and our Union took over everything, the two top rooms included. The Trades Council could have made them pay if there had been better entrances and bet- ter facilities for larger meetings. Our Union bought all up and started again. We had a care- taker for a short time, but of recent date we have only used them for office and collecting purposes. They have become the recognised centre for every

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THE FORMATION OF THE DISTRICT. 57

Labour effort and it is to be hoped that our Union, in its new home, will maintain that predominant po- sition for all time and co-operate with all other Unions in the promdtion of the well-being of the proletariat in town, county, country, and all over the world.

The old notepaper of the Union was headed as follows ;—

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CHAPTER IX.

AMALGAMATION

Be united and courageous, Work together side by side. Ever striving for improvement, With your conscience as your guide. Up ’midst competitions din, Help a life of love to win. Do the thing that’s right. And at every labour meeting,

Give to each the hearty greeting ‘‘Workers of the world unite.’’

When the Huddersfield strike was ended in May 1883, the amalgamation of the Huddersfield and Heavy Woollen Districts came about. The resolu- tion for amalgamation was passed at a meeting of the Huddersfield body on July 26th, 1883. They re- solved thalb the three Associations, viz., Dewsbury, Batley, and Birstall, become on Association namely, Huddersfield and District P. L. W. and W.

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AMALGAMATION. 59

came housekeeper for a Brighton lady, after then be- coming a foster mother for the Bradford Guardians. She died in harness, remaining a faithful member of the Association ta the end.

I have the first half-yearly balance sheet of the Huddersfield and District Association, for the half- year ending February, 1894. It is as follows :—

HUDDERSFIELD AND

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PROGRESS AT HUDDERSFIELD. 61

CHAPTER X. I AT HUDDERSFIELD

Come weaver lasses bright and fair, And make your Union stronger, Come make your wages better yet, Your warps from growing longer. The varying price lists which now rule Are neither just nor proper. With unionism you can thrive Without it—come a cropper.

The bonus that the Union won Should make your lot still hghter, And if you want to you can make Your outlook still much brighter. So then Unite—a mighty band— In measure over-brimming. And show the world there still remain Some fearless, faithful women.

The old Huddersfield Union was established in 1881, about the time of the Newsome strike. I was living at Damside, Huddersfield, in those days, and as a young fellow often followed the

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drafted by Mr. D. F.

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PROGRESS AT HUDDERSFIELD. 63

their revision. It was then I came in close contact with Mr. Gee and Mr. Stringer, and my life has been enriched by their mutual helpfulness.

On the completion of the revision of the rules I was appointed, on March 12th, 1887, a member of the General Committee, and have continued to act ever since. At the same meeting Annie Cooper, Jane Brook, and Allen Stringer were

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THE “YORKSHIRE FACTORY TIMES.” 65

CHAPTER VIII. THE “YORKSHIRE FACTORY TIMES”

The big event for 1889 was, however, the intro- duction of the ‘‘Yorkshire Factory Times into York- shire. As already stated about May of 1889, the late John Andrew, proprietor of the ‘‘Ashton and proprietor of the ‘‘Cotton Factory Times,’’ along with Mr. J. Burgess, sub-editor of that paper, wrote inviting Mr. Gee and myself to meet them at the Friendly and Trades Club, Huddersfield. Mr. Gee was invited ag secretary of our Union, and possibly I was invited because I had written Labour Notes in the old ‘‘Huddersfield Echo’’ and was the correspond- ent in Huddersfield for the ‘‘Cotton Factory Times.’’ We met and they laid down a proposal to establish the

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66

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THE “YORKSHIRE FACTORY TIMES.” 67

it seemed to me best to

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68 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

CHAPTER XI.

PAST AND PRESENT OFFICERS

Mr. John Ratcliffe, of Gomersal, was appointed the first president of the District. His election took place at the coffee-place, Top of Hick Lane, Batley, on January 6th, 1892. Mr. Ratel Mfe is still a useful

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BENJAMIN TURNER

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PAST AND PRESENT OFFICERS. 68

operative world, having been vice-chairman of Dews- bury Co-operative Society, and holding the position of a director for many years. He is one of the directors of the Co-operative Coal Federation, on which body Mr. T. S. Parr, J. P., another foreman spinner, and a %5 years’ member of our Union, is the chairman. Mr. Turner is no relation to our secretary, but some- times he gets the blame due to the secretary, and if he sometimes gets praise, he is welcome to it. He is not an orator, but he is a faithful, useful, hard-working co-worker with others in the Union, and in his position as foreman spinner for one of the best firms in the district his word is of some weight. During the mili- tary service crisis he has done good work as one of the Labour members of the Dewsbury Tribunal. Mr. Turner has also been for over 20 years a member of the General Executive. In May, this year, he was selected by the Dewsbury Town Council to fill the vacancy created by the lamenited death of the late Arthur Gledhill, miners’ leader for Ravensthorpe ward. In addition to being a member of the Town Council, he is also a member of the Dewsbury Substitution Committee under the Military Service Acts and the National Service Act. He is a leading member of one of the chapels in Ravensthorpe, and holds a high position in the government of the same.

Mr. Turner has an able vice-president in the person of Mr. Armitage Wilcock, the well-known willeyer at Messrs. M. Oldroyd and Sons, Ltd. Mr. Wilcock has served several years on both the District and the General Executive. He has helped to pilot several wages movements safely through, and has had a long connection with the Labour movement, being at one time a member of the now defunct Dews- bury Branch of the Independent Labour Party. He acted for a time as secretary of that Branch, when they

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ALLEN STRINGER

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PAST AND PRESENT OFFICERS. 71

TO ALLEN

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72 IEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

CHAPTER XII. ONE OF NATURE’S NOBLEMEN—

ALLEN

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PAST AND PRESENT OFFICERS. 73

home I don’t know. Mrs. Stringer was a small and very silent woman. Entering the house when both were at home was like visiting two ancients, for Mr. Stringer was tall and puritanical looking, hke a picture of a Cromwellian Puritan—whilst his wife may have been one of the silent dames from the same period. Their daughter, Grace (once treasurer of the old Union), is still living and working in the dis- trict. The rest of the family are in Hull and Leeds.

Mr. Stringer was on the General Executive of the Union

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74 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

CHAPTER XIII.

GODFREY SAVILLE, ASSISTANT SECRETARY

As the shuttle flies about Weaving in and weaving out, That the piece the weaver weaves may be well made. Don’t forget to claim & Wage That will suit the coming age When the weaver shall win comfort with his trada.

Mr. Saville is one of the older members of our Union. He joined when he came into the trade about 20 years ago. He was brought up in the pit working- ing as a lad and man with his father, who was for a long time a member of the Yorkshire Miners’ Association before the days when the West and the South joined hands. He was secretary of a branch, and Mr. Saville has books and documents his father used when strikes were on and blacklegs came and they had to buy them off and send them away, etc. When our Assistant Secretary became a workman his father insisted on him being con- nected with the Miners’ Union, and when the 1893 dispute was on at that pit he was entitled to strike pay, being about one in four to be entitled to bene- fits. Shortly afterwards ‘he joined the Textile Union on becoming a workman in the employ of

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ODFREY SAVILLE

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PAST AND PRESENT OFFICERS. 75

tion when it commenced, and was one of the origina- tors of the Co-operative Laundry for the Heavy

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76 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

CHAPTER XIV.

COLLECTORS

Two systems of collecting members’ subscrip- tions has always been a feature of the Union. (Where there has been a strong membership inside a mill we have had mill collectors, but the great bulk of sub- scriptions have been collected on the Lancashire Cot- ton Weavers’ principle of house-to-house collection. The cost is no doubt heavy, but it is the Union rate, and in the earlier days the work was worth more. Nowadays the areas are smaller, the book more com- pact, and ‘those who undertake the duty are thus better recompensed. Formerly collectors called at odd houses spread over the whole district; now some of our biggest collectors’ books scarcely cover a radius of half-a-mile. We have been fortunate in our choice of collectors and very few have gone astray. The Union has much to be thankful for in the faith- ful service rendered by these men and women. We have now 120 collectors and agents; when the district was opened 25 years ago we had one full-time collec- tor, Allen Stringer. No more heroic figure patrolled the district than Allen Stringer—Quaker, weaver, and man. Amongst our very oldest collectors are Dan Oldroyd, of Dewsbury, F. Fielding and Mark Whit- worth, of Batley Carr, and Charles Kelk, of Pudsey. They have travelled thousands of miles with books varying in size from

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UNION BANNER AND BUTTON. 77

CHAPTER XV.

UNION BANNER AND UNION BUTTON

Well do I remember the time when we tried the

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78 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

“The world is for the workers, We mean to have it too; Unite ye working comrades, And claim what is your due.?? On the top of the Banner in half circle is the line— ‘“‘There is no wealth but. life.’’ On the reverse side the line—

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UNION BANNER AND BUTTON. 79

The badge habit is a strong one. I hope it is kept up for the sake of knowing who is with us and who is nat. ‘Some years ago the Union were asked to estab- lish a monthly or quarterly Record, but they failed to appreciate the suggestion, so the District Commit- tee decided to establish what is now known as the Heavy Woollen District Textile Record.

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80 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

CHAPTER XVI. LEEDS

The advent of our Union into Leeds dates back to 1888-9. Our Heavy Woollen District collector, Allen Stringer, reported to our general office at Hud- dersfield that he had been sent for by some weavers at Wilson’s, Leeds, to talk to them over a dispute then proceeding. He went. When he got there the weavers had secured the help of a lady from Adel Grange, in the person of Miss Isabella Lord, the younger sidter of that noble family of Fords, all of whom have been born and bred in social reform and women’s movements. During that strike Mr. Gee and myself, with others, were introduced to this lady, a very young woman, and from then to now her co-operation has continued and she remains an hon- orary member of the district of our Union. She has been at many International Textile Congresses, re-

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LEEDS BRANCH.

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82 TEATILE UNION HISTORY.

Paterson (the indefatigable pioneer of

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LEEDS BRANCH. 83

Square, at the meeting held there, and also at the meeting held in the People’s Hall in the afternoon of that date. Every day she has been on the scene of action, busy with pen and brain, ready to write out the names of the

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$4 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

to-day numerous firms in Hunslet, the East End, Holbeck, and Kirkstall Road are connected with us. We formed a Leeds committee and a Leeds Branch. They have been a most useful asset to the Union and it is very well officered indeed. They are affiliated to the Trades Council and to the L.R.C., and we have representatives on the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the Women’s Suffrage Society, We have had, of course, all the 24 years a section of males connected with us, a good handful of spinners who have held their meetings monthly in the coffee house up Briggate, and of which Mr. Kelk, of Pudsey, is secretary and agent. They have a special unemployed fund in addition to our own. They comprise a few of the leading spinners, chiefly foremen, of the district.

Our Leeds Branch Secretary, Mr. Higgins, is a noteable foreman spinner, and also an active man in

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SPEN VALLEY BRANCH.

CHAPTER XVII.

SPEN VALLEY PEARKIN’ TH’ OWD YER’S

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86 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

In the olden days of the Dewsbury, Batley, and Surrounding Districts Woollen ‘Weavers’ Union there were weavers in Spen Valley who stood faithful. They were often few in number but certainly loyal to the Union banner. Mr. Gee and myself spoke at meetings in Littletown in 1889 and 1890, and also took part in establishing the Dyers’ Branch of the Gasworkers’ Union at Rawfolds in the year of that terrible strike. At that time there was a strong Car- pet Weavers’ Union in Spen Valley, under the secre- taryship of a dear old friend of mine, the late John Taylor. Mr. Taylor and the late Mr. Samuel Wood, who was chairman of the Heckmondwike Manufac- turing Company, were on opposite sides when carpet weavers’ wages were settled each year at conferences in Glasgow, Carlisle, or Leeds. The carpet trade was then at its best. In those days we did not admit car- pet weavers into our Union, and only did so when the vid Union, fostered by John Taylor, of Heckmond- wike, and helped by Dunhill Child and John Farn- hill, of Dewsbury, and others, broke up. Since then we have been privileged to organise many carpet weavers and workers at Messrs. Cooke’s, Ltd., Messrs. T. F. Firth and Sons, Litd., and the Heckmondwike Manufacturing Company, Ltd. We have hundreds of members from all departments.

The real development of Spen Valley, however, is of recent date. A branch we established about four years ago, has now over 1,000 members, and at last we have broken ground in Cleckheaton and five firms, both worsted and cloth, are now connected with us in that town. We have several hundred mem- bers at Gomersal, but these we consider in the Birstall area and in the parent section. At Liversedge we have now got the bulk of the employees at Messrs. Priestley’s and Messrs. Cooke’s, and the employees of Messrs. Anderson’s, Hightown, have recently joined us. At Heckmondwike the men and women

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LEEDS BRANCH. 87

at Messrs, Rhodes’, Messrs. Blackburn and Tolson’s, Flush Mills, the Company Mill, Messrs. Pyrah’s, Messrs. Clarke’s, and others are with us, and week by week during 1917 the Union has been growing stronger. Our Union has taken part in all the trade’s activities in the Valley. When the wages movements for Willeyers and Fettlers were started in 1908 we began to grow. Amongst the carpet sec- tion we have the men with us at Messrs. Cooke’s, and he women at Flush mills and the Company mills. There is much to do in Spen Valley yet before it is a satisfactory Labour centre. Our Union was in at the formation of the Trades Council, to which we are affliated, and one of our Bradford Union members, Mr. E. Jenkins, is secretary of that body. In the early nineties it was my privilege to help to establish Labour clubs in Heckmondwike, Liversedge, and Cleckheaton, along with many who have passed away. There are still left some who helped in those plea- sant times, namely George Oldfield, Coun. H. Hays, A. Stott, G. Harewood, H. Hirst, Frank Eades, J. A. Law, and others whose names I forget.

To promote Trades Unionism, and thus obtain unity amongst the workers, many meetings have been held at Heckmondwike on the Green and in the Mar- ket-place, and at Cleckheaton outside the market. It hag been a time of hard slogging work, but the few faithful now see the result of their labours, for the men workers’ wages are ds. to 7s. a week more than in the nineties, due solely to the Trades Union propa- ganda by our Union officials and the Trades Council officials. Our Branch Committee meets at the So- cialist Hall, Heckmondwike, and our secretary is one of the most untiring of young men. Our President, Mr. S. Williams, is known in carpet weaving circles in Kidderminster, Scotland, and Spen Valley. His tall, straight figure and classic face are also wel- comed. in all Working Men’s Club Union centres.

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88 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

He has served two years on the General Executive, and our Spen Valley committee and collectors are a credit to any movement.

The following is a statement for Spen Valley carpet weavers in

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SPEN VALLEY BRANCH. 89

TWO SHOOT VELVET.

5-Frame with Stuffer 9 to 94 wires to an inch oid. per yard. 5-Frame without Stuffer ” 6-Frame with Stuffer, 9 to 9} wires to an inch

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90 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

Velvet—Up to 41 yards of Carpet Is. 4d. and for every additional yard or ‘part of a yard of Carpet Os. 4d.

Shaded Chintz Frame, up to 4h yards ‘additional Os. 3d. Cutting down from

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MCRLEY BRANCH. 91

CHAPTER XVIII. MORLEY

If yo miln pieces reit, An’ yo cuttle ’em atreit, An’ finish ’em fit for to wear. Then yor wage sud be good, An’ yor wark sewerly sud Not leave yo o’er burdened wi care.

If yo spin yarn at’s true, Whether brahn, black, or blue, To mak into fine cloth bith mass. Yo owt to be happy, An’ nivvur made snappy, Becos yon been crippled for brass.

If you weyve cloth correct, Yon a reit ta expect, A dacent reward; it’s what’s due. It’s easy to win it, Soa let us begin it, And each to each other be true. B. T.

Numerous efforts have been made to organise Morley Textile workers right away from 1889. I attended a demonstration in the then Queen’s Park, owned by the late Mr. Ben Worrall, when Havelock Wilson, the late Sir Charles Dilke, ‘and others, were advertised to be present. The meeting: was ‘under the auspices of the Gasworkers’ and General La- bourers’ Union. I asked the late Sir Charles Dilke who, with his good wife, was always a firm friend of our Union, why he hadn’t turned up. He had never promised to do so, because he had not been asked. It had been decided to ask him but the invitation was never sent. The late Mr. Cockayne read a telegram apologising for his absence. It was a big demonstra- tion, and the late Tom Paylor, Tom McGuire, and myself, were amongst the speakers.

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92 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

About that time—whilst I lived at Leeds—we had to deal with a strike at one of the big places in Morley—Messrs. Hudson, Sykes and SBousefield. We got a few score of members and it looked as if Morley had been rushed into activity at last. Suc- cess was assured in the wages movement, but alas they soon slipped from membership when they had settled up their grievance. Mr. Drew and myself attended numerous shop meetings and mill gate meet- ings in Morley. At one mill, over 25 years age, we were expounding our views outside a mill yard as the weavers came out at tea time, and some sods were thrown at us from the mill yard. I rushed in to ex- postulate, but was removed wilth violence. The firm’s foremen were the persons guilty of throwing sods at the instigation of the employer. The firm failed soon afterwards and since then I have been inside the mill yard and the mill office and there is a different outlook on life within the mill office than in those dark days.

We were fortunate in having a meeting place in Morley early on, for we established a Labour club in Hungerhill. r. Ben Simpson, Mr. Halliday (a labourer), and Mr. Ben Brook, rendered great assist- ance. Both our Union and the Gasworkers’ Union did fairly well for a time and then the slip-back came. We tried again over fifteen

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MORLEY BRANCH. 93

we were making up the price lists with the then nebu- lous employers’ associations at the Hotel Metropole, Leeds, but from then to now no Union strike has taken place and wages advances and war bonuses have been got in a perfectly friendly business-like manner, Our membership is very sound and grows bigger each col- lecting day. Both men and women are engaged as collectors, and whilst at times little troubles crop up with the Gasworkers’ Union overlapping, we have, generally speaking, good working agreements with that Union. It hag been a time of hard struggle at Morley, but since we were able to enter into nego- tiations with the Morley Manufacturers’ Association ‘matters have run more smoothly.

Mr. Dickinson was first branch secretary, and was also on the General E.C. for one year. Mr. Walsh is our present most able plodding secretary, and Mr. E. Auty our E.C. member. The collector- ships have undergone a number of changes owing to the Military Service Act, yet those remaining, and the new ones appointed, have done yeoman work. One of our collectors is a member of Drighlington District Council (Coun. Wilson). Our Branch Pre- sident, Mr. Armitage, is upon the Morley Co-opera- tive Committee, and many of our members are serv- ing on public committees and taking their part in public service and responsibility. The first agree- ment made at Morley was as follows :—

TERMS agreed upon between a Deputation appointed by thie Morley Cloth Manufacturers and the Representatives of the General Union of Weavers and Textile Workers on behalf of the Willeyers and Fettlers in Morley. (1) That the classes of workmen included in the

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94 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

(exclusive of 14 hours for meal-times per day from Monday to Friday, both inclusive), and from 6 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday (exchusive of half-an-hour for meal-time). Rates of wages for both Willeyers and Fettlers, 54d. par hour for ordinary working hours. For overtime, after 6 p.m. on Monday to Friday and 12 noon on Saturday, payment at the rate of 63d. per hour. (3) With reference to the men receiving 6d. per hour, the continuance of the payment to these men to be left for arrangement between the individual employers and men, but all new men will come under the rates above-mentioned. (4) The Agreement to be in force until October Ist,

1912, with three months’ notice of any proposal of change by either party, to expire at that date or any time afterwards.

(5) These Terms shall come into operation as from the first pay-day in August, 1910. Dated this 19th day of July, 1910. For the Employers :— JOHN HARTLEY. EDWD. JAOKSON. WILLIAM CHAFFER. WALTER STHAD.

For the General Union of Weavers and Textile Workers :— BEN TURNER (General President). ALLEN

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OSSETT BRANCH. 95

CHAPTER XIX. OSSETT

Ah thoil a man a ptpe to smook, A drink o’ home-brewed ale; A paper or a homely book, Or smartly written tale. But what Ah cannot stand at all Is he who’ll see another fall, An’ call him ’coss he’s dun it; Or pick a pearl o’ wisdom up, An’ use it as his own ‘made stuff, An’ nivvur say he’s fun’ it.

Ah thoil a man a neet at t’club Wi’ dacent pals

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96 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

Town Hall. Good audiences, apparently interested in the speeches, kept a good distance from the plat- form as if afraid to be seen at the meetings. When the Rev. Mr. Cradock was appointed Vicar of Ossett he invited Mr. Kirkby, of the Railway Servants’ Union, and myself, to consult with him on Christian Social Union matters generally and Fair Contracts in particular. Mr. Frankland, who was then Secre- tary of the Chamber of Commerce and headmaster of the Grammar School, evinced much interest in our efforts to organise Ossett, but it took some time to arouse enthusiasm. Mr. G. R. Simpson, the check- weighman of Roundwood, Ossett, Mr. W. France, a local miners’ official, and others who have passed away, assisted us greatly, but the present branch is the first successful result of our work at Ossett. Willeyers, Fettlers, Rag-grinders, and Packers were the first to join the Union, and after a six weeks’ strike, some years ago, a wage list was established. The strike referred to is well remembered by many of our members. A more faithful body of workers could not be found than the men of those days. Ossett advanced in both wages and unionism as the result of that strike. ‘We had got about 400 members when we put in our request for a standard rate of wages of 6d. an hour. The employers were not pre- pared to meet the Union officials either separately or collectively. One good man, now deceased, sent me a postcard to the effect that he had a big dog and if I attempted to go into his place he would set it upon me. Later on the firm were always glad to see our officials and the big dog

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OSSETT BRANCH. 97

meetings and answered Mr. Gee’s courteous and obliging letters. The spirit of the man was so good, and the support of the town so pronounced, that a motion was carried at the Ossett Co-operative Society to grant £250 in settled donations per week. That

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WAKEFIELD AND ALVERTHORPE. 99

CHAPTER XX.

WAKEFIELD AND ALVERTHORPE

Weave the music of love in the

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100 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

and Mr. E. Westmoreland, have remained loyal to the Union. We held dozens of meetings to try and get the weavers to join up again, but very few stuck to unionism, and efforts made twenty years ago were also unsuccessful probably owing to the fact that another Union was on the ground. The last move we made was five years ago and has been attended with conspicuous success. Prac- tically all Colbeck’s men and women are mem- bers of the Union, most of the workpeople employed at Messrs. Moorhouse’s, and the worsted workers at

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WILLEYERS AND FETTLERS OHARTER. 101

CHAPTER XXI.

WILLEYERS' AND FETTLERS’ CHARTER

I think the great rise in our Association may be reckoned from the day we established a Willeyers’ and Fettlers’ Charter. It sprung into force all over the county. I was asked to visit the Colne Valley by the workpeople about 1910 because there were strikes in various parts of the Valley. We held meetings and there were claims for more wages. They wouldn’t resume work unless they got more wage, and when Mr. Gee got back home we met the Employers’ Association leaders and the following agreement was the final outcome of the strike :—

Memorandum of terms of settlement be- tween the Huddersfield and District Wool- len Manufacturers and Spinners’ Asso- ciation the Huddersfield and District Yarn Spinners’ Association, the Fine Cloth Man- ufacturers’ Association, and the General Union of Weavers and Textile Workers, ar-

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102 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

(5) The wages to be paid to workpeople on the night shift shall in all respects be precisely the same as for day labour. (6) Any person temporarily employed in any of the classes of employment re- ferred to in paragraph No. 1 shall be paid the above prescribed wages dur- ing the term of such employment. (7) In the event of any dispute arising in the future as to rates of piecework, no stoppage of work shall take place while the rates are under discussion between the Employers and Operatives’ Asso- ciations, and in the event of disagree- ment questions of dispute shall be re- ferred to arbitration, the Chairnian to be agreed upon between the parties, or, failing agreement, appointed by the Board of Trade. (8) Six months’ notice in

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WILLEYERS AND FETTLERS CHARTER. 103 The Fine Cloth Manufacturers’ Associa- on

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104 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

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WILLEYERS AND FETTLERS CHARTER. 105

MULE-MINDERS. 14.—That Mule-Minders be advanced to 26 shillings per

week. WARPERS AND

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106 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

that each Manufacturer shall so adjust his Tariff that Weavers of Plain

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WILLEYERS AND FETTLERS CHARTER. 107

where there was the biggest lot of members. The weavers’ scale was fixed up poor because at that time the weavers were not in the Union in any appreciable numbers. A shoddy trade agreement was made on the 6d. per hour basis, like the willeyers and fettlers. The firms that used to be looked upon as_ sweating shops years ago are amongst the best of shops to-day. some of the craven fear of the ‘‘boss’’ has gone away from the workpeople, and some of the prejudiced dis- like of the Trades Union official is now no more in many employers’ circles. They meet, and argue, and reason, and bargain without any of the nastiness that existed in our earlier history.

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108 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

CHAPTER XXII.

OLD PRICE LISTS

During the early part of the eighties there was some trouble in the blanket trade, and a price list was established, mostly with the consent of the em- ployers in the trade. This scale was as

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OLD PRIOE LISTS. 109

Weavers can compare the prices now and then, and it will be seen the prices are less to-day than at that time and the earnings are not as good per loom Or per weaver as in those old days. 30 years of dis- organisation is the chief cause of it.

An old blanket weavers’ price list for 1824, printed by J. Willan, printer, Dewsbury, is as fol- lows

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110 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

For Gear 40 porties by 19 in 10-4 80 yards the ounce, 14d. by the whartern. If woven into goods of the width of six-quarters, or under six-quarters in the loom, then twopence by the whartern to be paid in addition to the above prices, and sixpence on each chain for looming. The above prices are for an in-workman. For an out- workman an addition of one half-penny per whartern to be made thereon. Jobbing four-pence per hour. An in-workman to be supplied by his employer with every article necessary for the completion of his work.

The price lists for cloth weavers underwent changes downwards in Dewsbury and Batley from 1883 to 1890. Then a series of strikes took place at which Messrs. Gee, Stringer, Drew, and myself, were kept busy. We helped to make new price lists at Wilfred and Johnson’s (Dewsbury), B. and J. Hirst’s (Batley), Robinson’s (Carlinghow), Skelsey’s (Batley), Wailes (Batley), and at other places. "The general basis of these—for slow looms—was as fol- lows, the length of strings being 3 yards 3 inches.—

WHAVING SOALE. Weavers are entitled to Payment of a Piece Only upon completion of the same. BLACK AND COLOURED COTTON WARPS.

Picks. Length in Price per 2 Shuttles. 3 Shuttles. Strings. String,

s. d. £ s.d. £

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OLD PRICE LISTS. 111

BLACK AND COLOURED COTTON WARPS.

Picks. Length in Price per 2 Shuttles. 3 Shuttles. Strings. String.

s. d. £ s.d. £ s.d.

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112 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

The following is an old weavers’ price list agreed upon after the Holmfirth weavers’ dispute in 1872. This was the first dispute I ever knew about. I was a lad of nine and even then was interested in it, for my father used to tell us at home about the event and we had to live on rations, so much bread per day—no butter—sometimes some treacle, often some drip and bread, and not enough of that. My first view of any other procession than a Sunday school one was in seeing the strikers march from Holmfirth down to Huddersfield. My father was on the strike commit- tee and one of the founders of the old ‘Weavers’ As- sociation of Holmfirth and district. Weavers’ prices were much higher then than now. True the looms were the old slow looms

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108... 107... 111... 115... 119... 123... 127... 131... 135... 139... 143... 147...

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114 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

CHAPTER XXIII. THE INTERNATIONAL, WAR WACES

In June, 1914, our Union was represented at the International Textile Workers’ Congress. Fielding was our local delegate, and Messrs. Gee, Turner, and Miss Ford were also delegates. The previous Congress was at Amsterdam and on that occasion I contributed the following lines in the

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WAR WAGES. I 115

revolutionary choruses with in France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and Italy, and two or three were there whom Mr. Gee and I met at the first

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116

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WAR WAGES. 117

number of men, the aggregate wages paid to the women shall not be less than the aggregate wages paid to the men they replace, and in no case shall the wage paid to an individual woman be less than four-fifths of the wage previously paid to the man Te

5.--That where any workpeople are not fully employed through shortage of work, the women who have taken the

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TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

Keighley and District Spinners’ Association, Henry Clough. Huddersfield and District Yarn Spinners’ Association, George H. Wood. Huddersfield Fine Cloth Manufacturers’ Association, D. R. H. Williams. Bradford and District Manufacturers’ Association, H. B. Shackleton, W. Arthur Turner. Keighley and District Manufacturers’ Federation, West Bowling Spinners’ Federation, Great Horton Spin- ners’ Federation, North Bierley Spinners’ Federa- tion, W. Arthur Turner. Yeadon and Guiseley Manufarturers’ Association, John H. Ives. Halifax Chamber of Commerce, John E. Shaw,

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WAR WAGES. 119

The work of the officials arising out of the war has been exceptionally heavy, and many have served on the various tribunals and committees organised throughout the Riding. These have included, in addition to our District President and Secretary, Mr. C. Kelk (Pudsey), Mr. Wilson (Drighlington), Mr. North (Ossett), and Mr. Marshall (Horbury). The Textile Union is now the second biggest Union in the county with 29,000 members, of whom 14,000 are connected with the Heavy Woollen District.

A fifth Bonus arrangement has now been settled as follow :—

WOOLLEN AND WORSTED TRADE. (Yorkshire.) AGREEMENT AND AWARD. Subsequent to correspondence between the parties refer- ence was made to the Chief Industrial Commissioner’s De- partment on behalf of employers included in the Woollen and Worsted Trades’ Federation and the Bradford and Dig- trict Commission Weavers’ and on behalf of the employees represented by the following Unions: — General Union of Textile Workers, Leeds Willeyers and Fettlers, Yorkshire Blanket

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120 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY.

uses, which in varying forms and at various rates had been adopted in the trade throughout Yorkshire. Although a consolidation and uniform system might not give a similar advance to all workpeople at the present time, the conference decided that the principle of uniformity in a general sense ought, as far as possible, to be adopted, and accordingly agreed on the principle of percentage increase on the war rates less the existing war grants or bonuses and the varying conditions attached to such war grante and bonuses. It was fully understood that if the adoption of the percentage sys- tem should cause an individual wage plus percentage to be less than the wage plus previous war grants no reduction was to be made. After debate in which proposals and counter proposals were made the decision in accordance with the understanding and agreement made at the commence- ment of the conference is :—

1. All existing war grants and bonuses and the condi- tions attached to such war grante and bonuses are to ve cancelled.

2. All male time-workers in the districts mentioned and covered by the above Federation (except Keighley) and who were paid under the last awards of January, 1917, between the parties are to receive 50 per cent. on the time rates to which the present war grants and bonuses are now applied such percentage not to exceed 15 shillings,

8. All female time-workers in the districts mentioned and covered by the above Federation (except Keighley) and who were paid under the last awards of January, 1917, be- tween the parties are to receive 50 per cent. on the time rates to which the present war grants and bonuses are now applied. 4. All male piece-workers (except the sub-contractors and blanket raisers hereinafter mentioned) in the mentioned ant covered by the above Federation (except Keighley) and who were paid under the last awards of Janu- ary, 1917, between the parties are to receive 40 per cent. on the piece rates to which the present war grants and

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WAR WAGES. 121

6. Sub-contractor piece-workers employing time-work assistants are to be treated as time-workers for the purpose of this agreement and paid a percentage of 50 per cent. of their net earnings such perrentages not to exceed 15 shillings per week of 55} hours and correspondingly more or less ac- cording to the hours worked. The War percentage of the time work assistants shall be paid by the employer.

7. Blanket raisers employed by firms whose business is entirely that of blanket nanufacture are to receive 30 per cent. on the piece rates to which the present war grants or bonuses are now applied.

- §. Time-workers and piece-workers in the Keighley district are to receive 15 per cent. on the rate to which the present war grants or bonuses are now applied and to the

sum so arrived at the existing war wages or bonuses are to be added.

Where by former war grants firms have not paid 25 per cent. to twisters the amount should be made up to that. In the case of time-workers the percentage and war grants should not exceed 15 shillings. An understanding was arrived at that if the above agreed arrangement proved not to be a fair equivalent to the

sums given in other districts a special conference should be held with regard to Keighley.

9. The percentage allowances are to be payable on the pay-day in the week-ending June 9th for the week prior to that pay-day and thereafter and are to be regarded as war wages and recognised as due to and dependent on the exist- ence of the abnormal

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122 TEXTILE UNION HISTORY

CHAPTER XXIV. UNION’S GROWING STRENCTH

The Textile Un.on is now the second biggest Union in the County. We have over 30,000 paying members of whom 14,000 are in our District. Of this number at least 16,000 are females. It is a great sight now to see a General Meeting when there is something of importance on. (We used to have to beg folks to come to the Union, to come to meetings. At the last meeting we had on June 9th, 1917, Dews- bury Town Hall was packed from floor to ceiling, and

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UNION’S GROWING STRENGTH. 123

broaden their knowledge and to give them opportuni- ties of diffusing the idealism belonging to Trades Unionism. It gives them openings to enter into ne- gotiations with employers on trade matters of a general character that would otherwise not be possible. -

I have known the day when employers would have spurned the idea of talking to a Trades Unien official, when they would have closed the door to them, when they would never have replied to their letters. I have known the day when workers would not speak to them either, or when they hardly dare be seen speaking to them. I have seen them look round to see who was about before they dare speak to me.

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INDEX

District Officers


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