A well-attended meeting was held in the Odd-fellows Hall, Egremont, on
Saturday, Mr. J FLYNN presiding. Supporting him on the platform were
Councillors SHARP, J.P., Maryport, and P. WALLS, Workington.
The Chairman referred to the position of the Egremont branch at the present
time, showing that they had made considerable advancement of late years. When
they considered the Taff Vale decision in the Law Courts, the Penrhyn Case
and the unfortunate affair at Denaby Main, it seemed to him that judge made
law during the last two years had put them back a little. The time had come
when Trade Unions should stand shoulder to shoulder more firmly than ever
(Applause). The time had arrived when the workers must send their own direct
representatives to the House of Commons as both Liberals and Conservatives
to a large extent were ignoring the need of the working men. Their County
Federation had done good work. The Federation gave their association the
help they needed at a time when meetings looked black, and now under their
improved conditions they were pleased to have with them that night men who
had made the Federation what it was. On the public bodies the Labour members
seat by the County Federation were recognized as practical men and had done
good public work. If dissension amongst the workers could disappear and all
took their part for the good of the Labour Cause, they would soon have a
better state of things. (Applause).
Councillor SHAPR said it gave him great pleasure to be amongst them again
and referred to the first visit to Egremont about thirty years ago when they
could not get a hall in which to meet and had to hold their meetings on the
Cross. Now they had a good strong association, and the employers and the
men's representatives met and settled their disputes. The workers must take
more interest in their Unions. He was glad that the members of the
Cumberland Iron Ore Miners, Coal Miners and Blastfurnacemen's Association
were the best of friends and worked so well together. There was no doubt
greater need for organization now than at any other period. Some men had got
it into their heads that the great trusts and syndicates were likely to be
of benefit to them, but when these great accumulation of capital got
together the day was not far distant when the American system of crushing
labour would reach this country.
It was only by combination that men would be able to hold their own.
Councillor WALLS, of Workington, also addressed the meeting and said he
heard a lot about Liberalism and Conservatism, but he left all that behind
him 16 years ago. Labour as the source of all wealth and labour and capital
must go hand in hand. Where they found the best organizations, they found
the best conditions of labuor-they could work out their own social
salvation. During the past few years Trades Unionism had raised the wages
and improved the conditions of the working class.
A vote of thanks was accorded to the speakers.