Meeting of Council, March 31st 1896
Room 3, Floor 3, 9 Albert Square
Present Chairman Hon. Mrs. Lyttleton, Mrs Schwann, Mrs Arnold, Mr. Entwistle, Mr. Mosses, Mr. Horsman, Rev. F. Dormer Pierce, Father Bernard Vaughan, Rev. T. Green, Miss Bamford, Miss Hertz, Miss Reddish, Miss E. Wilson, Miss Weiss, Miss Cox, Miss Bulley, Miss Van der Veer
A letter of apology for inability to attend was received from Mrs. Redford.
The minutes of the Council Meeting held on Feb 25th were read and passed.
Mrs. Schwann reported that Mrs. Mercer & Mrs. Massey declined to serve on the Council on account of pressure of other work. Mrs. Schwann moved & Miss Bulley seconded that the words “their consent to stand having been obtained” should be added to the existing bylaw in relation to the election of new members.
A report was given of the meetings which had been held.
Feb 18th Meeting of Umbrella Workers, Ancoats Art Museum.
Chairman Mr.Beckley. Speaker Miss Ashwell. Music Mr. Davies’ concert party.
Feb 26th Meeting of Tailoresses, Cooperative Equitable Society, Downing Street.
Speakers. Miss Ashwell Miss Welsh Miss C. Webb Miss Bamford.
Feb 27 Meeting of Folders and Servers, Guardian Printing Works, Jobbing Department. Blackfriars St.
Chair Miss Ashwell. Speakers Miss Carolyn Martyn. Miss Welsh. Mrs. Schwann.
March 19th Joint Meeting Women’s Cooperative Guild & W.I.Council, Cooperative Assembly Rooms, Downing St. The tailoresses had not joined the union. The Folders and Servers had temporarily joined the Federation, but were desiring to have a separate union of their own. Arrangements were being made to hold a meeting on their behalf after Easter. The secretary of the Book Binders' Union (Men) was being asked to help in the matter. Communications had been received from laundry workers who were anxious that efforts should be made to organise them. Arrangements were being made for a meeting with this intent.
A report was given as to a visit to Messrs. John Noble & Co. Works by Miss Bulley & and Miss Ashwell on January 14th, 1896. The firm employ 1500 people of whom 1200 are women, at the Brook St. & Whitworth St. factories. Hours 8.45 am-6.00 pm. 1 hour off for dinner.
Apprentices 4s for first six months.
Most girls 11s-12s-14s
Some girls 21s-25s-27s
Fined 2d per day if late. A deduction of 3d per week for expenses of 3 dining rooms. No work now given out to be done at home. The firm said that they were often accused of sweats but could do their work much cheaper if they chose.
Questioned as to strike of girls in August 1895. They then brought out a new costume & put on a clever girl to see how long it ought to take. They priced it accordingly. Other workers were dissatisfied. They told the girl she ought to have taken a longer time over it. 40 girls went out on strike. These girls not taken back, but promised good characters in search for situations. 550000 customers. Trade almost wholly retail. 72 sleeves cut out by machinery in 22 seconds.
The question of affiliation with the Women's Industrial Council, London was next discussed.
Mrs. Schwann moved and Miss Bulley seconded that the recommendation of the Executive Committee in favour of affiliation be deferred for twelve months.
Mr. Mosses moved and Mr. Dormer Pierce seconded as an amendment, that the Manchester Salford & District Council do affiliate with the Women's Industrial Council.
The amendment was lost. 7 against 3 for. The substantive resolution was then put and carried. Mr. Entwistle moved and Miss Reddish seconded that all members of Council be asked for a minimum subscription of two and sixpence. This was carried after some discussion.
A number of resolutions dealing with labour questions which had been received from the National Federal Council of Women's Trades for Scotland, Glasgow, with the request that the Council would pass them & forward them were next considered.
i.“That, in view of the evidence as to the serious effects to health arising from want of seats in shops we earnestly recommend that a clause requiring compulsory provision of seats for shop assistants, and giving power to the local authority to enforce it, be introduced with any bill relating to shop legislation that be before parliament.”
ii.“That this Conference accords its hearty support to Sir John Lubbock’s bill for the earlier closing of the shops, & and desires the inclusion of shop assistants, and a limit of working hours for assistants in restaurants.”
iii.“That in the industrial interests of the Community, attention should be given to the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Labour, as to the formation and development of a State Labour Department.”
iv.“That we would urge on local government the need for introducing a bill to amend the Truck Acts, which shall include all classes of workers and provide that no contracting out on the part of the worker by written agreement or otherwise, shall in any degree affect the illegality or such deductions as are in question from the wages.”
v.“that section 68 of Factory Act of 1878, be so amended that intimidation of workers giving evidence to an inspector be decreed ‘obstructing an inspector in the execution of his duties.’”
vi. “That Section 26 of the Principal Factory & Workshop Act be so amended that no child shall be allowed to be employed full time, until he has attained the age of 14 years; & the age of half-timers be raised from 11 to 12 in fulfilment of the promise made by the British representatives at the Berlin International Labour Conference.”
vii. “That the government be asked to introduce a bill to consolidate the various Factory & Workshop Acts, so as to remedy the confusion & uncertainty frequently arising from the different Acts at present in force.”
viii. “That in view of the frequent & disastrous disputes frequently arising in the textile industries, & in other occupations, & the serious results of these to the whole community, the government be asked to take into consideration the advisability of establishing Boards of Conciliation to deal with those difficulties, such boards having power to examine books & documents.”
ix. “That in view of the important legislative measures which are at present before the country relating to the social & industrial conditions of women, it is desirable to allow women a direct voice in the making of the laws which so seriously affect them, and that women be put on the same level as men with regard to the Parliamentary franchise.”
Mr. Horsman moved & Miss Hertz seconded that the following resolution be sent to Sir Matthew White Ridley & Sir John Lubbock “That the Manchester Salford & District Women’s Trades Union Council accords its hearty support in favour of the efforts being made to procure by legislation the earlier closing of shops as provided for in the bill now before parliament promoted by Sir John Lubbock M.P.” Carried.
Mr. Entwistle moved & Mrs. Arnold seconded
“That we would urge on the government the need for introducing a bill to amend the Truck Acts, which shall include all classes of workers, and provide that no contracting out on the part of the worker by written agreement or otherwise, shall in any degree affect the illegality of such deductions as are in question, from the wages.”
Mr. Entwistle moved & Mrs. Arnold seconded
“That the Factory & Workshop Act of 1878 be so amended that intimidation of workers giving evidence to an inspector be deemed ‘obstructing an inspector in the performance of his duties.’”
Miss Bulley moved & Mrs. J Green seconded an amendment that the Manchester Salford & District Women's Trades Union Council should not concern itself with this point. The amendment was carried. It was put as a substantive resolution & also carried.
Mr. Entwistle moved & Miss Cox seconded
“That in view of the important legislative measures relating to the social & industrial conditions of women which are at present before the country, it is desirable to allow women a direct voice in the making of the laws which so seriously affect them, and that women be put on the same level as men with regard to the parliamentary franchise”.
Miss Bulley moved & Rev. F .Dormer Pierce seconded that this resolution in regarded as foreign to the purpose of the Manchester Salford & District Women’s Trades Union Council
The amendment was put to the meeting and carried (7 for 3 against)
It was put as a substantive resolution & also carried.
Mrs. Schwann proposed & Rev. F Dormer Pierce seconded that the next meeting of the Council should be held at 8 o’ clock in the evening.
This was put to the meeting & carried.
Henrietta M. L. Arnold June 16/96