Meeting of Council, 8pm, July 12th, 1898
9 Albert Square
Present Miss Bulley Chair, Miss Ashton , Mr. Herford, Mr. Harker, Miss Higginson, Miss Cooke, Mrs. Hobhouse, Mrs. Sidgwick, Miss Forsyth, Miss Wilgar, Mr. Hamilton
Apologies were received from Mrs. Schwann, Mrs. Arnold, Mrs. Lyttleton, Canon Hicks, Mr. Dickson, Miss Olga Hertz, Miss Wilson, Miss Dodd
The minutes of the last Council meeting were read and passed.
The minutes of the last Executive Committee were read.
Arising out of the minutes Miss Bulley asked what had been the result of the negotiations with Messrs. Macintyre Hogg. It was reported that two letters had been written to the head of the firm, and as the girls had withdrawn from the union, the Shirt Makers Union had decided to let the matter rest.
A report was given as to the grievance of the workers at Messrs. Bradshaw & Blacklock’s Queen St. City. The girls were in many instances not receiving the standard rate although they had served a four years’ apprenticeship to the trade & their overtime pay was also to low. Negotiations were pending and a deputation from the Folders and Sewers' Union had an appointment with Mr. Bradshaw for July 15th. It was hoped that some concessions would be obtained.
An account of the Pipe Finishers strike was next given. The women Clay Pipe Finishers of Miles Platting (earning 8s on an average never more than 10s) had formed a trade union 18 months since & accumulated a fund of 36. The women worked with the men, & their employer refused to pay their wages direct to them. They asked for an advance of ½ d a gross on two kinds of work (16 not 12 dozen counted to the gross.) They gave their employer Mr. Samuel Mac Lardy, Shude Hill six weeks to consider. He told them that if the men would concede an advance of 1d per gross to him he would give the women the ½ d for which they asked. The men refused, the advance referred to being the only one they had received for 8 years. The women handed in their notices & came out on strike at the end of a week. After a three weeks strike their union funds were exhausted, & they applied to the Women's Trades Union Council for help. A sum of £19-7-6 was collected for them, which enabled them to continue their resistance another two weeks. A settlement was effected & after the Whitsuntide holidays the women returned to work at the advanced rate, the men at the old rate. Miss Ashwell reported that Mrs. Carmichael Secretary of the Women's Union had sent a letter of thanks to the Council for their help and that the Union was more firmly established than ever having a membership of 70, only three women in Manchester at work at the trade being outside its membership.
Mrs. Dickenson reported that a difficulty had arisen as the Linotype Works. One of the girls had had her work reduced 1¼ per 1000. Pressure had been put upon her by the foreman to turn out more work, and when her earnings rose to 30s 6d he reduced the rate of payment leaving her unable to earn more than 23s. Mrs. Dickenson & Miss Ashwell were to see Mr. Place the Works Manager in reference to the matter.
The Jewish Tailoresses had held a meeting on June 13 at 58 Cheetham Hill Road. Then was an attendance of 30. Mr. Abraham Lewis, Mr. Cohen, Mrs. Dickenson & Miss Ashwell spoke. The union was not in quite as satisfactory a state as it had been. There had been a change of officers and the membership had fallen off somewhat. It was resolved that Mr.??? The Secretary of the Jewish Machinists Tailors and Pressers Union should be communicated with in regard to the matter.
A letter was read from Mrs. Wilson Rochdale resigning from the Council. She stated that her interest in the work remained the same, but that as she was not able to attend the meetings she desired to discontinue her membership. Her resignation was received with regret. It was resolved that she should be asked to suggest some other person resident in Rochdale to take her place.
Miss Bulley gave an account of a visit which she had paid to the Salvation Army Match Factory, Old Ford, with Mrs. Tenant. The factory was a large shed very airy & light. The most important processes were carried on by men. The amorphous phosphorous was used and there were no fumes. Girls were employed in breaking matches previously cut, and in filling the boxes. Some work was given to outworkers, the making of the boxes which was paid at 3d per gross. The drying of the boxes was done at the factory instead of in the homes of the outworkers. The hours were from 7 am to 7pm, five minutes being allowed for (?) both in the morning and afternoon.
It was so far found impossible to make any of the Strike Anywhere matches, but experiments were being carried on in order to be able to make such matches ultimately. The girls earned 11s a week, the learners having 5s-7s.
The Reports of the Investigation Committee in regard to Home Work and Factory Work were read to the Council.
Attention was drawn to the proposed joint conference of the Shop Assistants' Union and the Women's Trades Union Council, which it was expected would take place in the autumn.