December 10th, 1913

Council Meeting held Wednesday December 10th 1913 at 3.00 pm


PresentMiss Emily Cox (chair), Mrs. F. E. Ashwell Cooke, Mrs. J. J. Findlay, Miss Woolley, Miss Basnett, Mrs. G.K. Grierson, Miss E. Todd, Mr. G.V. Cox, Mr. Hugh V. Herford, Miss Shelton (Rubber Workers Union), Miss Mary Quaile and Mrs. O.M. Aldridge.

Apologies for Absence. Apologies for absence submitted from Mrs. Ernest Simon, Miss Horton (Clothiers Union), Mrs. Sinclair.

Minutes. Minutes of the last meeting were read and passed.

Annual Meeting. Arising from the Minutes it was reported that the Annual Meeting would be held on Tuesday, February 17th 1914 at 3.00 in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour at the Manchester Town Hall.

Proposed Restricting of Picketing. A letter was read from the General Federation of Trade Unions calling attention to the probability of efforts being made during the next session of Parliament to restrict picketing. Mr. Herford moved and Mrs. Cooke seconded “That this Council representing organised women protests against any further limitation of the right of peaceful picketing.” Carried unanimously.

Underground Workrooms Bill. A letter was read from the Women’s Industrial Council asking support in furtherance of their Bill for the better regulation of underground workrooms. The Bill has already twice passed the House of Lords and efforts were now being made to secure the introduction in the Commons. A joint deputation to wait on the Government was proposed. Miss Cox moved and Mr. Herford seconded:- “That the Council be represented on the joint deputation and that Lady Schwann who had previously represented the Council on a similar deputation be again asked to be the Council’s representative.” No date was yet fixed for the interview.

Finance. The month’s financial statement was presented by the Treasurer.

Sub-Committee Minutes. The Sub-Committee Minutes were read.

Dispute at J.&N. Philips’ it was reported that a dispute had occurred at an Messrs. J & N Philips' Mantel Factory, Derby Street, Cheetham Hill. On Friday, November 21st the Manager (Mr. Marks) had reduced the price for making a raglan coat from 1/11 to 1/6. Twelve of these garments could be made by a worker in the week. The reduction would thus mean a drop of five shillings in the weekly wages. About fifty women were affected, and as they could not get a revision of the new price their efforts in this direction being met by hints and threat of similar reductions on much of the other work, they struck work.

The dispute was reported to the Amalgamated Union of Clothiers’ Operatives who in their turn asked the Council’s assistance in dealing with the matter. Meetings were held and full enquiry made re-cause of dispute. On Tuesday, November 25 Miss Mary Quaile in company with Mr. Watkins and Mr. Connell (Secretary and Organiser of the Clothiers’ Union) interviewed the manager. The old price of 1/11 was secured and a promise given by the Manager that no alteration in the price of other work would be made without full notice being given. All the women returned to work on the following day. All the fifty joined the Clothiers' Union.

Dispute at Messrs. Blair’s & Co. Corset Makers. A dispute at Messrs. J. S. Blair and Sons Corset Factory was reported. The dispute arose on November 18th through the introduction of a new number of corsets (number 603) below price. The trimmers eighteen in number were asked to take the work at 11/2 per dozen and they claimed 2 per dozen. The trimmers stopped work and the next day 100 other women in the finishing department stopped in sympathy. None of the women left their machines but simply refused to work. On the following Tuesday November 25th about 500 stitchers and strippers were locked out, the reason given that the department was blocked. About 800 women were finally involved - all agreed that the trimmers’ demands were just. The women’s union the Amalgamated Society of Corset Makers and Sewing Machinists reported the dispute and asked for the Council’s assistance on Friday November 21st. Steps were immediately taken to secure an interview with the Manager (Mr. Cartledge). The first interview between the Manager and Mrs. Aldridge was held on Monday, November 24th. Further interviews, meetings of sectional committees and mass meetings of the women, were held each day. On Friday, November 28th a settlement was reached. On the Manager’s suggestion it was agreed to compromise on 13/4 per dozen. A good understanding was arrived at for the fixing of future prices. At the close of the interview a very friendly spirit prevailed. The women in the finishing departments returned to work on the following morning (November 29th) and the remainder on the morning of December 1st 1913.

Norwood Blouse Factory. It was also reported that negotiations were still proceeding re-prices for the making of blouses with the Norwood Manufacturing Company Temple Buildings Altrincham Street. Lengthy interviews between the firm and members of the Amalgamated Society of Corset Makers and Sewing Machinists and Mrs. Aldridge had been held on the afternoon on Tuesday, December 9. The Union had submitted 23 numbers of lines of work for revision of price and during the last four weeks on 10 of these 3 per dozen advance been secured and six per dozen on two others making a total gain of 3/6 per dozen. Other numbers were left over for consideration until fresh orders were obtained.

A new system of timing was agreed upon at the interview: that all new work should first be timed by four girls - two to be appointed by the firm and two by the union. The prices once agreed upon to be paid in both rooms. A fairer distribution of work was agreed to by the firm.

Women’s Trade Union League. A letter was read from the Secretary of the Women’s Trade Union League proposing that Unions formed or to be formed by the Council should become branches of the National Federation of Women Workers. The funds of each Union would by her suggestion be merged in the general fund of the Federation and the contributions, benefits and rules of the Federation, would apply to all. After some discussion the matter was adjourned till the next meeting.

Emily Cox January 14 1914