FELLOW TRAVELLERS MR. J. B. Figgins, the newly elected general secretary of the National Union of Railwa“nen is not a Communist, but I am reliably informed that he is a fellow traveller.
When the T.U.C, General Council met last week, Figgins is reported to have voted with the Communist, A. F. Papworth, the leader of the Busmen, against the wage-freezing policy.
It is interesting to note also that Figgin's predecessor as General Secretary of the Railway msn's Union, John Benstead, is now a whole-time member of the Braish Transport Commission. His salary is only £5,000 a year. Are these exunion leaders going to turn out to be the new type Capitalists ?
CATERING WORKERS I NOTICE that the Hotels and Res
taurants Association have taken advantage of a clause in the Meals and Establishment Order of 1946. This clause states that an additiopal 6d. for every 5s. in the total bill—' including drinks—may be charged for service.
The Association has recommended that the extra 6d. be charged because of the higher wages they will have to pay. It will be put on the bill as an authorised surcharge" and will no: be passed on to she staff. The new wage agreement recently signed gives LS a week to waiters, who will work a five-day week.
GRIMETHORPE STINT MINERS at Grirnethorpe Colliery, who last year staged a long strike over increased stints, have refused to accept a longer s:int, in two districts, which are to be opened in the Melton Field seam. The Coal Board planned a 24 ft. stint for the district. The miners' decision was made at a meeting held last Saturday, despite the appeals of I. A. Hall, the Yorkshire miners' leader. STRIKE IN SLUSH IT happened in London this week. A number of Billingsgate porters, on arrival at the fish market, found that the pitch where they worked was covered with snow and shish. They gazed at it—stuck sticks into it to test how deep it was and then held a conference.
After this they decided to strike. However, it did not last long and was all over in a few minutes, market officials having agreed that the drivers of the fish lorries could park their vehicles on the dry patches. Said one of the lightning strikers: " The rest of the City has been nicely cleared up, except here where we have to work." A harrassed market official's only comment was, " A small matter soon settled."
QUICK ACTION IT was only three days after the unofficial strike on the Merseyside that the Revolutionary Communist Party issued their own policy in the dispute, by leaflet pronaganda. The Communist Party, too, preseated a policy, through the medium of speakers at meetings. It seems 'a pity that we always scent too late to give the lead. Not only on the Merseyside, but everywhere, it should be the aim of the Catholic societies to have a point of view on industrial disputes. If the workers have a just grievance then let's air it for them if not, then we should aim at influence to right the wrong. The Merseyside proved this point, when in 1945 there was a strike of dockers. The intervention of a Catholic priest and an Anglican minister was the major cause of a settlement in the dispute.
As in most of these cases the local M.P.s and union officials took all the credit, but then we should not want credit for doing our duty.