Meeting of Council, May 23rd 1900, 3pm
9 Albert Square
Present Miss Bulley Chair, Miss Cox, Miss Hertz, Miss Gaskell, Miss Higginson, Miss Wilson, Miss Faraday, Mrs. Sidgwick, Mr. Herford, Mr. Entwistle, Mr. Peach.
The minutes of the last meeting were read & not signed.
Apologies were received from Miss Ashton, Mrs. Schwann, Miss Crompton, Mrs. Roberts, & Miss Alice Cooke.
Mr. Herford (Treasurer) urged that every member of the Council would make a personal effort to obtain further subscriptions as it was always a difficulty to meet the Council’s expenses.
It was moved by Miss Olga Hertz & seconded by Miss Julia Gaskell.
"That the Council adopt the recommendation of the Executive Committee that Miss Eva Gore Booth be appointed joint organising Secretary at a salary of £80.00 a year, subject to one month’s notice on either side; the appointment to come up for reconsideration at the end of 12 months."
The following resolution was moved by Miss Wilson & seconded by Mr. Entwistle.
"That the Women's Trade Union Council while congratulating Miss Ashwell on her approaching marriage & assuring her of their good wishes for her future prosperity, desire to express their extreme regret at the severance of her official connection with the work of the Council. Recognising that the success of their efforts is due in no small degree to her energy tact & perseverance & they wish to place on record their sense of the value of her unstinted services." Moved by Mr. Entwistle & seconded by Mr. Herford. "That Miss Ashwell be invited to join the Council and Executive Committee."
Miss Ashwell reported in reference to the Cigar Makers' Union. The advice of Mr. Sidney Webb had been asked, and a letter from him was read suggesting that the right solution of the difficulty was to organise the cigar makers in machine using factories (whether hand or machine workers) separately from cigar makers in factories where no machines were used: the new union not to compete with the hand workers union and to confine its membership to workers in machine using firms. Mr. Webb further added “the Cigar Makers' Union are not necessarily wrong in declining themselves to work the machines. Where they are wrong is in declining to organise the workers in machine using firms. But experience seems to point to its being more convenient for them to organise apart....In all probability the number of machine using firms will steadily increase the number of hands workers in those firms will also increase. Presently you will have what will be practically a machine workers union, existing side by side with the hand workers union (as the National Union of Boot & Shoe Operatives exist alongside the (Amalgamated Boot Makers)”.
Mrs. Dickenson added that a letter had been received from Mr. Cooper General Secretary of the union from which it seemed likely that the firm would discontinue the use of machinery at the end of the year. The handworkers in the machine using factory were not anxious to form a new union, & wished to be allowed them to rejoin the handworkers union from which they had been dropped out in the first instance.
Mrs. Dickenson reported as to the case of the folders & sewers employed by Messrs. Bradshaw & Blacklock. A further advance of 1/s per week affecting 48 girls had been gained as the result of the deputation sent to the firm on February 1. Although Mr. Bradshaw had written on April 3rd refusing to do anything more, he had nevertheless made the concession, & the folders & sewers in his employ were now all receiving 11/s &12/s where they had formerly received 9s &10s.
The Society of Women Employed in the Bookbinding & Printing Trades had just completed its fourth year. The membership stood at 150. The Bank Balance has risen during the year from £56-10-5 to £77-16-9. The sum of £32-2-6 has been disbursed during the year for sick & out of work pay as compared with £39-17-3 last year.
Mrs. Dickenson further reported that a strike had taken place at the shirt factory of Messrs. S. & J. Watts, Dark Lane, Higher Ardwick. The workers had been offered a reduction of 2d per dozen on several makes of shirts. They had refused to accept the reduction, and had ultimately agreed upon a compromise accepting a reduction of 1d per dozen. The news of these recurrences came to hand after the agreement. It was considered desirable to hold a meeting & advise the workers to join the Shirt Makers' Union. This was done on May 13th when a meeting was held at the Dark Lane Mission Room in conjunction with the Shirt Makers' Union and Mr. Entwistle, Mrs Dickenson, Miss Ashwell & Miss Fallowes attended & spoke. The greater number of the girls had decided to join the union. A meeting was held on May 16 that 66 Grosvenor Street on behalf of the Fancy Box Makers' Union. It was badly attended.
Mr. Peach proposed & Miss Cox seconded that Mr. Kelly General Secretary of the Bookbinders' Union be asked to join the Council. Carried.
A. Amy Bulley