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Weavers Strike Action Today July 1932
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Author:  Mel [ Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:03 am ]
Post subject:  Weavers Strike Action Today July 1932

The Times
Monday, July 25th 1932

Burnley Mill Dispute
Weavers Strike Action Today
A meeting of officials of the Burnley Weaver's Association was held yesterday, when the position respecting the threatened strike at about 60 mills to-day was considered. It was decided that the strike should proceed, and it is understood that strong forces of pickets will be on duty at the time for opening the mills this morning.
Officials of the three associations of the Burnley and District Textile Trades Federation, who are parties to the calling of the strike, anticipate that a big percentage of operatives will respond to the call. The decision of the overlookers and tapesizers associations repudiating strike action is expected to have a big influence on events.

Author:  Mel [ Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:50 am ]
Post subject:  Joint Negotiations Opened.

The Times
Tuesday July 26 1932
Wages in Cotton Trade
Joint Negotiations Opened.
The Burnley Strike
From Our Own Correspondent
Manchester July 25

Contact between employers and operatives in the manufacturing section of the cotton trade was successfully re-established here to-day. Notwithstanding the outbreak of a strike in Burnley district, the full Central Board of the Northern Counties Textile Trades Federation, including some representatives of the Burnley unions responsible for calling the strike in their own area, attended at the offices of the Cotton Spinners' and Manufacturers' Association this morning, and were there met by the Central Committee of the Manufacturers Association.
At the lunch-time adjournment Mr. J.H. Grey, the employers' chairman, who is presiding at the joint sessions with the operatives' representatives, stated that his own side had had a preliminary meeting before sitting down with the operatives, and as a result of the meeting he had informed the operatives that the employers had discussed the question of the effect of the Burnley strike on the proposed negotiations and had come to the conclusion that it was better, in the interests of the trade, to proceed with the business for which the joint conference had been called.
The negotiations continued this afternoon, most of the time being occupied by the operatives' separate consideration of matter laid before them by the employers. At half-past 4 an adjournment for the day was made. The joint conference will be resumed at 2 o'clock to-morrow afternoon. Information as to the stage at which matters now stand was declined. The operatives, however, stand by Mr. E. Duxbury's letter of July 20 to the secretary of the employers' association. This stated: "There is recognition on our part that a new agreement involves consideration of a reduction in the rate of wages."

Burnley Mills Idle
The first day of the strike at Burnley has passed off without untoward incident. The strike is more successful than some even of the Burnley operatives' officials had anticipated. At the principal mills only a handful of weavers turned in, and the cases were very few where the attendance of workpeople warranted the management in continuing to run the machinery. The Burnley trades union officials contend that, notwithstanding the joint conference at Manchester, they have not gone into this strike heedless. They consider that the Burnley employers, by attempting to enforce the 12 1/2 per cent. reduction forthwith, have provoked resistance from the operatives, who can do nothing but strike.
The attitude of the Northern Counties Federation is that the Burnley strike can be stopped at once if only the employers there will withdraw the notices of reduction. Having regard to the successful imposition of the reduction of wages in the Blackburn area such a withdrawal is hardly probable. From the employers' point of view the present joint negotiations are onnly one more attempt to regularize on a county basis a state of affairs already prevailing in many mills thorughout Lancashire, and inevitable sooner or later in every area.
It was on April 22 that the last series of joint meetings ended with the
operatives' definite refusal to consider any wage reduction proposal. On May 10 the manufacturing employers throughout Lancashire issued a month's notice terminating all existing agreements on wages and conditions. Since June 11 firms have been at liberty to make new terms individually with their own workpeople, and the great majority of firms who are members of the Cotton Spinners' and Manufacturers' Association have either made such new terms or have given notice of their intention to do so.

Author:  Mel [ Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Only One Mill Working in Burnley Area

The Times
Thursday, July 28 1932
Cotton Strike
Only One Mill Working in Burnley Area
All but one of the 60 cotton mills, employing about 25,000 operatives, in the area covered by the Burnley Textile Trades Federation closed yesterday owing to a strike of workers against the propsed 12 1/2 per cent. wages cut.
Every mill in the borough was idle from breakfast time yesterday morning. In the afternoon the Worsthorne Manufacturing Company's mill, which was running at full strength, with 300 operatives, closed. The workpeople (who had been promised the old wages pending a county settlement) left the mill after dinner, afraid of a hostile demonstration in the evening. Gorple Mill, the other Worsthorne concern, which had been working at partial strength, ran until the usual time last evening, but it was considered unlikely that work would be resumed this morning. The Burnley Weavers' Association will pay out £15,000 in strike pay to-morrow.

Author:  Mel [ Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Growing Demand for Extension

The Times
Friday July 29 1932
Weavers' Strike
Growing Demand for Extension
Wage Cuts Accepted in Some Areas
From Our Special Correspondent
Burnley July 28

Six district associations of weavers in parts of Lancashire outside Burnley have now joined in a requisition to the Weavers' Amalgamation to call a special meeting of the General Council of this body, at which there shall be submitted a resolution to call a strike of all members throughout the county in sympathy with the Burnley strike. The lead in the extension movement has been taken by the Nelson branch, where extremists have always been prominent, and where last night Communist incitements were added to the agitation.
The real position at Burnley to-day was shown by the statement that 20 weavers out of 25,000 were at work. The town has gone on holiday, an ominous incident pointing to the possibility of 4,000 colliers in the district having to stop work because of the reduced demand for fuel. The temper of the strikers is indicated by a statement posted to-day by Proctor Brothers, Limited, Wheatley Lane:-
To All Concerned.-We beg to give notice that, in the interests of peace and for the safety of our workpeople who have stood by us, we do not propose to prolong this strife. This will operate from noon to-day.

"Mob Law"
The mill is therefore closed. Mr. Hezekiah Proctor added to the published
We have been up against what might rightly be termed mob law in this matter, which is wrong, and if we cannot decide this question on principle it is a sorry thing.
A different picture is presented in the Blackburn district, where over 60 out of 70 firms are now working at reductions of from 6 1/2 to 12 1/2 per cent. Great Harwood and Rishton operatives have also voted to accept the reduction. At Preston a mass meeting of cotton operatives is to be held next Tuesday to consider whether to accept the piecemeal reductions of which employers have given notice.
Prospects on the whole, however, are not hopeful for the resumed joint conference of employers' and operatives' representatives at Manchester to-morrow. The gap between the demand for 22 1/2 per cent. off list rates by the employers, and the offer of 10 per cent. off lists made on Tuesday by the operatives, is too wide to be easily bridged, especially now that the success of the Burnley strike has led to a substantially-backed demand for calling out weavers throughout Lancashire.

Author:  Mel [ Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Indecisive Joint Conference

The Times
Saturday July 30 1932
Indecisive Joint Conference
Effect of Burnley Strike
From Our Own Correspondent
Manchester July 29

The joint negotiations on wages in the manufacturing section of the cotton industry have survivied another long day of exchanges and discussions between the represntative bodies on each side, and are now adjourned till Tuesday afternoon.
The employers last Monday first asked for 30 per cent. off the 82 1/2 per cent. Then they abated this to 25 per cent. The operatives' representatives replied that they wer prepared to recommend "a reduction of the percentage on to 70 above standard." As to-day's conversations have failed to produce any variation in these figures, matters remain now, and will continue at least until Tuesday, exactly at the point reached soon after the present series of joint talks opened. The only positive advance is represented by the fact that the parties are still in contact, and will continue so for some days yet, and that the employers have thrown out a tentative hint that a concession by the operatives would be met with a corresponding concession by them.

Hopes of Resistance
There has, however, been a change for the worse in the situation outside the joint conference room. One of the events recorded in previous messages in The Times this week, the success of the unions in Burnley in stopping the mills in that town and the immediately surrounding district because the employers have generally sought to impose a reduction of 12 1/2 per cent., has revived over the whole of Lancashire the hopes of those operatives' representatives who all along have advocated resistance to wage reduction. Until events in Burnley showed the possibility of this resistance being effective the employers' battle for reduction appeared to be nearly won. Particularly in Blackburn and the neighbouring towns, weavers had continued to work at the new terms imposed by their employers, against the advice of their unions, and there had been no serious attempt by the union officials to prevent the operatives working.
It was on the outskirts of Burnley that it was first found by the unions that they could successfully intimidate workers who wished to accept the lower rates proposed by their employers as the condition of continuing their work at all. Then, when firms in Burnley itself began to post notices of departure from the wage rates formally abandoned after June 11, the principal unions in the Burnley Textile Trades Federation determined on their own repsonsibility to call out all their members from mills where the employers were seeking to impose the new rates. The strike call was very widely obeyed in the town, and in three days of this week the unions succeeded in bringing every mill to a standstill.
Emboldened by this success, the extremists of resistance in other parts of the county have again made themselves heard, this time renewing their original demand for a general stoppage of cotton-weaving establishments thoughtout the county.
The Burnley strike is a strike against a cut of about 12 1/2 per cent. in real wages, which is what the combined employers are asking for in the present negotiations. 25 per cent. off list being equivalent to about 12 1/2 per cent. off earnings. The operatives' representatives have themselves offered and recommend a cut of about 6 1/2 per cent. in actual earnings, so that the difference to the individual operative is the difference between about 1s.3d in the pound off present weekly drawings and 2s.6d. in the pound off. What accounts for the stiffness of the opposition to reduction is the already low and precarious earnings of the weavers, and the conviction, universal with the operatives and barely disguised by the employers, that wage reduction of itself will not enable the employers to recover the trade they have lost. At the best, it can only check the rate of further loss of trade.

A Joint Statement
The following are the terms of the joint official communique issued this afternoon jointly by Mr. J.H.Grey, for the employers, and Mr. E.Duxbury, for the operatives:-
"Negotiations on the wages question have continued during the day between the representatives of employers and the Central Board of the Northern Counties Textile Trades Federation. During these discussions the operatives placed the following suggestions before employers:-'Having consulted our executives and received their opinions we now desire to place the following before you. In the hope that our offer to recommend 70 per cent. on list prices, in place of the present 82 1/2 per cent., will end the chaos now existing, restore collective bargaining and agreements to the industry, and end the unfair and foolish competition now going on between employer and employer, we ask you to accept our offer. We do not feel justified in going beyond this offer.'
"In the afternoon a sub-committee representing both sides got together and discussed the whole position informally. During these conversations the employers asked, If they were to improve further their application for 57 1/2 per cent. on list prices to some higher figure, would the operatives be able so to amend their figure that there was a possibility of agreement being reached? The operatives' reply was that they were not able to go beyond the offer of 70 per cent. on list that they had been willing to recommend. After further discussion between the two sides it was agreed that the joint conference should be adjourned until Tuesday afternoon at 2.30 o'clock.

Author:  Mel [ Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Burnley Cotton Strike

The Times
Tuesday August 2 1932
Burnley Cotton Strike
A special meeting of manufacturers, called by the Burnley Cotton Spinners' and Manufacturers Association, was held yesterday.
At the close Mr. J.H.Grey stated that representatives of every mill in what might be called the Greater Burnley area, which was closed because of the strike, had been invited to the meeting, and there had been a ready response. They called the meeting because they felt under an obligation to take into their confidence all those who were affected by the strike action and to inform them fully as to the present situation. The matter was thoroughly discussed, and the question examined in all its bearings. The meeting displayed full confidence in, and support of, the action and attitude of the employers' representatives.

Author:  Mel [ Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Strike Plan Not Adopted

The Times
Thursday August 4 1932
Weavers Wages
Strike Plan Not Adopted
Negotiations With Employers
From Our Own Correspondent
Manchester Aug 3

The Nelson weavers to-day failed to carry their proposal for a general strike of weavers throughout Lancashire. This was the upshot of the meeting of the General Council of the Weavers' Amalgamation, held here this afternoon. The meeting had been specially convened on the requisition of the Nelson branch association and of several other districts to discuss a general strike proposal.
One hundred and fifty delegates from 36 districts attended. The discussion was long and exhaustive. Nelson delegates confidently expected to carry their resolution and looked for support from Colne, Burnley, Accrington, Blackburn, Preston and Great Harwood. They hardly anticipated the resistance of the Central Committee of the Amalgamation, but the officials of the Amalgamation skilfully interposed a full report by Mr. A.Naesmith, the general secretary, and others on the joint meetings on wages reduction that have been taking place with the employers' representatives. The report as to the present stage of the joint negotiations was followed by the tabling of the Central Committee's recommendation "that this special general council meeting confirms the decision of the special meeting of June 30, 1932, giving full power and authority to the Central Committee to deal with the situation."
The delegate conference had, therefore, to choose between reaffirming their confidence in the guidance of their Central Committee and instructing that committee, at the request of the Nelson delegates, to call a strike of all members of the weavers' amalgamations throughout the county. The Nelson delegates desired it to be a strike against the abrogation of agreements and the imposition of wages reductions. Before a decision was arrived at there was a break, during which the Central Committee retired for a separate consultation. They appear to have returned to the conference with a modified form of their request for a vote of confidence, for immediately after the resumption of the full conference the delegates agreed, I am told, without a division to the followinf:-"That this meeting stands adjourned. In the meantime the whole question be left in the hands of the central Committee."

The Joint Negotiations
Every day gained from precipitate action renders a general strike less likely, so that to-day's decision is to be welcomed in the interests of industrial peace. At the close of the meeting Mr. Naesmith, in answer to a question, said he expected the joint negotiations with the employers would be resumed on Friday, as decided on Tuesday.
This could not have been the case, I am sure, had the weavers decided to-day for strike action. The employers' association made a very great concession when they consented to enter on joint negotiations on Monday of last week, in face of the Burnley strike then starting. They took the view that that strike was, after all, a district demonstration only, and not an event for which the operatives' main organization, the Northern Counties Textile Trades Federation, could be held responsible. They would, however, be obliged to take a different view of a stoppage of all weaving mills throughout Lancashire. Had such a stoppage been decided on by the weavers to-day it must have brought the joint negotiations forthwith to an end. Even as things are the Burnley strike has by its continuance brought a new unanimity into the deliberations of the employers in that town.
When the joint negotiating conference resumes on Friday the operatives will almst certainly be asked if they are now prepared to advance in the direction suggested by the employers on Tuesday. If they still find themselves unable to move from the figure of 12 1/2 per cent. reduction in the uniform list percentage rates towards the 25 per cent. reduction in those rates demanded by the employers, the joint conference will probably break up. On the other hand an intimation of the operatives' continued willingness to negotiate will probably find the employers in a conciliatory mood.
The responsibility of the operatives' representatives at the joint conference is therefore a heavy one. They have to choose between an unpopular further concession to the employers' request for a substantial reduction and that almost certain revival of the extremists' demand for a general strike should the joint negotiations be broken off. The officials at any rate know that a stoppage could lead to nothing but disaster for the operatives and to the union's finances, and that would inflict irreparable injury on the cotton industry. They have already conceded too much to the employers to be able now to justify a strike against any reduction at all.

Author:  Mel [ Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:23 am ]
Post subject: 

The Times
Tuesday August 9 1932
The Burnley Strike
An Appeal to Workers
From Our Own Correspondent
Manchester Aug 8

The Burnley Textile Trades Federation signalized to-day the beginning of the third week of the strike at weaving mills in Burnley and district by distributing a printed appeal to "appeal cotton workers" to stand firm in maintaining the strike. The circular stated:-"The spirit of the operatives ids stronger to-day, we believe, than when the dispute commenced. The Federation is confident that all operativeswill remain firm, stand fast, and in no circumstances agree to return to work unless advised to do so by the Federation Committee.
This appeal has been successful to-day, so far as the great majority of the mills at Burnley are concerned. Only at two small mills, with less than 200 operatives altogether, was there a resumption of work to-day at the reduced wages. Police precautions against interference with these workpeople increased. These instances cannot be called a breakaway from the strike instructions as in both cases the workpeople concerned did not cease work of their own will. At one of the two mills they are profit-sharers, and at the other non-unionists, and they would have continued at work during the last fortnight but for the unpleasantness to which they were subjected.
The importance of the circular issued by the Burnley operatives' organization lies in its indication of the attitude of the Burnley representatives on the operatives' sides of the joint negotiating conference, whose sittings are to be resumed in Manchester to-morrow after adjournment since Friday. The summons to continued resistance to wages reductions in the Burnley area would hardly have been so shrill had the prospects of an early successful issue of the joint negotiations been good. There was a meeting of the committee of the Weavers' Amalgamation this afternoon at Accrington to enable the representatives of the Amalgamation on the Central Board of the Northern Counties Federation to get fresh instructions for their guidance at to-morrow's conference. The result of this meeting was not disclosed. The committee of the Weaver's Amalgamation, however, are strongly adverse to any further concession to the employers' demand, and had only very unwillingly been brought to the point of agreeing to the operatives' present offer of 12 1/2 per cent. off uniform list rates.
Meanwhile the employers still ask for 25 per cent. off the uniform list rates, but are willing to take a little less if the operatives will make a concession. It is quite possible that, were the operatives' representatives prepared to yield the point, a new county agreement could be signed on the basis of halving the difference. The weavers as a whole, however, are strongly against any further concession, and the agitations for extension of the Burnley strike to the whole of the weaving mills in Lancashire is maintained, regardless of the futility of such a stoppage. There is not the faintest probability of the employers resuming payment at the old rates of wages, so that no general strike could hope to succeed. Its only result would be the further weakening of the unions and the more rapid exhaustion of their funds.

Author:  Mel [ Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:53 am ]
Post subject:  A General Strike Recommended

The Times
Friday August 12 1932
Cotton Trade Dispute
Weavers Threat
A General Strike Recommended
From Our Own Correspondent
Manchester Aug 11

The first step following the breakdown of the wages negotiations between employers and operatives in the manufacturing section of the cotton industry has been taken to-day. It is a decision of the general council of the Weavers' Amalgamation, meeting in Manchester this afternoon, to recommend the calling of a general strike throughout the county. This agressive action comes from the most important section of the operatives in point of numbers.
Twice before in the course of the present crisis the weavers have provided the majority in a ballot vote in favour of a strike and have afterwards been overruled by the larger organization of which the Weavers' Amalgamation forms only the largest part. This is the Northern Counties Textile Trades Federation, the body which conducted the recent abortive negotiations with the employers regarding wages reduction. The weavers' recommendation will be made first to the central board of this federation at Blackburn next Monday. In the meantime the eight or nine other amalgamations and unions sharing membership in the federation are also holding meetings of their delegate bodies. Reports or recommendations from all of these will be considered simultaneously at the meeting on Monday.
The weavers have got in first with their intended blow at the employers. The threat is meant as a lead to the other unions, and it may be more effective than past demonstrations of the same kind now that the negotiations with the employers have broken off. A strike at all mills throughout the county will probably not be so successful everywhere as the strike which started at Burnley three weeks ago, but in any degree it will be a catastrophe to Lancashire. It could not continue for a fortnight without compelling the stoppage also of the majority of the mills in the spinning section of the industry.
The strike decision to-day was anxiously awaited at Burnley, where, for some days, it has been plain that large sections, even of the weavers who are still obeying the strike call in that town, were hoping for another issue to the wages negotiations. There has been talk of an attempt by the Burnley employers to reopen their mills next week, but a more likely course is for the employers as a whole to watch events until the action of the operatives as a whole is determined by the Northern Counties Textile Trades Federation. The Central Committee of the Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers' Association meets in Manchester to-morrow to consider the situation brought about by the breakdown on Tuesday and the subsequent developments. In view of the threat of a general stoppage of the weaving section the Federation of Master Cotton Spinners' Association will now also have to prepare for a possible closing of the outlet for yarn in the home market.

The Recommendation for a stoppage was announced in the following official statement:-
In view of the breakdown of the negotiations and the unsatisfactory attitude of the employers, the Central Committee recommends a general stoppage of the industry, the restoration of agreements with regard to list prices, and the reinstatement of operatives brought out on strike.

Author:  Mel [ Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:03 am ]
Post subject:  Strike Pickets Charged

The Times
Saturday August 13 1932
Strike Pickets Charged
Alleged "Watching and Besetting"

Large crowds assembled outside Burnley Police Court yesterday when the summonses against 13 pickets in respect of incidents arising out of the cotton strike were heard. The men summoned were H.Holden, R.Redman, H.Green, H.Glenn, T.W.Nutter, J.Meehan, W.Southworth, J.Heaton, R.Kippax, J.Cowling, H.Hudson, J.W.Tomlinson, and C.Sutcliffe. Some of the defendants are members of the committee of the Burnley Weavers' Association. The summonses alleged that they "wilfully did watch and beset a place where certain persons work as cotton operatives," and that their behaviour was disorderly.
Mr. J.Lustgarten (defending) stated that the men elected to be tried by jury on the allegation of watching and besetting.
The charge of watching and besetting was taken first to test whether there was a case to go for trial or not.
Mr. R.Booth, prosecuting, said that on August 2, when the engines ceased at Bishopshouse Mill, 17 pickets rushed across the street, and when the first operative left the mill they yelled at him. Police officers tried to stop the noise, but no notice was taken and the shouting continued as other operatives left. A big crowd began booing and jeering and the police, who were overwhelmed, had to e reinforced.
The Magistrates decided that there was a case to answer and the defendants were all committed for trial, bail being allowed. The summonses alleging disorderly behaviour were adjourned sine die.

Author:  Keith Westwell [ Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:14 pm ]
Post subject:  13.8.32 -Strike pickets charged - Watching and besetting

Hi Mel,
Just glanced through the articles re the 1932 strike, until I came to the above article and I wondered what happened to the pickets and whether it was possible to identify them more clearly.

I am interested in H. Holden as he could be a relative. If his name was Hedley Holden then any information would be gratefully received.

Keith Westwell.

Author:  Mel [ Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Keith, welcome to the site!

The picket articles are transcriptions taken from the Times newspaper. I do have more articles but don't know that they will identify specific people any more clearly I'm afraid.

Author:  Mel [ Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Weavers Strike Action Today July 1932

http://www.briercliffesociety.co.uk/Pho ... Strike.htm

Loikloik kindly sent me this flyer. I believe it was in his mothers possessions.

Author:  halsalli [ Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Weavers Strike Action Today July 1932

This is all facinating reading. I have been transcribing my grandfather's letters for some years which he wrote from Australia to his sister Florence in May Street, Burnley during the 1920s and 30s. In one of his letters dated 25 September 1932 he refers to a newspaper report about the dispute.

"I see you've been having strive over there at Church and the people here are all of the impression that sacrilege has been committeed in one of the churches near Blackburn until I informed them that there's a town of that name near where I used to live. this is the paper's way of putting it:

"Lancashire Cotton Dispute, mob riots in Church

And nothing about whether the town was called Church or whether the church was in a town, everyone here fully belived that it was in a church".

It's wonderful to read primary accounts of events taking place in Lancashire then find sources like this to gain a deeper understanding of the issues. Thank you for posting.

Ian Halsall

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