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Coal Miners

Editorial: The Present State of the Trade Union Movement

  If numbers were all that mattered the trade union movement could congratulate itself on being in a very healthy condition. In this country there are now well over 8,000,000 trade unionists compared with 6,000,000 in 1939, and 4,000,000 in 1913. On the international field the expansion is much more striking because trade unionism is fast developing in countries,, such as South American republics, where it was formerly weak or non-existent. The International Federation of Trade Unions which had about 7,000,000 affiliated members in 1913, and 33,000,000 in 1932 (before the seizure of German trade unions by the Nazi Government) has just been replaced by the new World Federation of Trade Unions claiming some 60 million members in its affiliated national trade union centres.

Death and Disablement in the Mines


The following is from an article, “ Dust in the Mine," The Lancet, April 22nd, 1944: —

Turmoil in the Coalfield

 Four days after the Miners Federation, the coal-owners and the Government reached an agreement which it was stated would guarantee peace in the industry for four years, the South Wales Miners' Executive Council recommended to the delegate conference that they reject the proposals (29.3.44). It was also announced that day that 80,000 Yorkshire miners were on strike; only two weeks had passed since 91,000 miners had returned to work in the South Wales coalfield. Four years is a short period for a peace pact when compared with Chamberlain's “peace for our time," but when considered against the background of turmoil in the coalfields, it seems as though the miners' leaders are guilty of wishful thinking. Industrial peace like international peace is impossible in capitalist society and we can confidently state that should the proposals be accepted, they will last only a short time. Little has been said about them but the main features are wage stabilisation and simplification.

Miners and Leaders

 The Socialist Party of Great Britain wishes to express its deepest sympathy with our miner fellow-workers. By the time this article appears, the struggle in South Wales will no doubt have been “settled.” Even in the extremely improbable granting of the strikers' full demands, the miner will remain one of the worst victims of capitalism. We speak as worker to worker. All of us in varying degrees have tasted the bitter pill of poverty and been under the harrow of callous employers.

 We rejoice that the miner has not been driven so low as to be indifferent to the taste of the dirt of life offered by his masters, and explained away by his pastors.

The Daily Herald has offered you advice. It bids you “Go back to work; Trust your Leaders .”

The S.P.G.B. begs its comrades of the pit to review their history, especially in the light of this advice.

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