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Rivetters' and Finishers Union

The Argus, 13th December 1889, transcribed by Kay Collins

Notes of the Week

The local branch of the Rivetters' and Finishers Union met on Saturday evening for tea, business, and pleasure. Speeches followed the tea, and the proceedings were finished up with a dance. One or two of the speakers were unnecessarily severe in their references to the employers of of labour. Combination is an admirable thing, but nothing is gained, and much may be lost — by provocative words on either side.

The Argus, 13th December 1889, transcribed by Kay Collins

Trades UnionismThe Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Irthlingborough branch of the National Union of Rivetters and Finishers held a social reunion in the Public Hall on Saturday afternoon and evening. Tea was served by Mr Keywood the manager, to which about a hundred sat down. This was followed by a meeting, which was fairly well attended, and addresses were given by Mr. C. Freeman, who presided, and Messrs. Wills, C. Sanders, and F. Inwood, of Northampton, on the advantages to be derived from Trades Unionism.

Mr. C. Sanders, referring to the establishment of the present branch said he believed the masters laughed up their sleeve at the middling start they had, but now they respected them, as they were a power. No union man need be ashamed of his principles, and he was glad to see the change of opinion respecting trades unions, as they were recognised now by the leading men of both parties, and respected by both; and the speaker eulogised several public men who had supported trades unionism in speech and act, especially mentioning Lord Brassey.

Mr. F. Inwood, president of the Northamptonshire Branch of the Union, who addressed his audience as "fellow shopmates" made a speech of considerable length. Referring to the remarks of the previous speaker that trades unionism was now supported by prominent public men and also by the clergy, he said it was rather fashionable now for big people and rev. gentlemen to foster trades unionism but for his own part he did not take much notice of them. Working men must depend on their own efforts, and show that they were masters of the situation, and that they were able to say what was a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. They had suffered from the disease of oppression by the capitalists, and their only remedy was combination. If they continued to allow employers to reduce wages, where would it stop? They couldn't blame the employer so much, as he was studying his own interests, and the men must study theirs. They didn't advocate strikes, but the banding of themselves together for mutual benefit, and the man who would not make some effort for the benefiting of his fellow man was not worthy of the name. He wanted them all to turn organisers, as it was by combination they got their rights recognised by Parliament. He considered trades unionism of even more importance than friendly societies, as unionism meant the protection of wages, the source of all contributions. Contrasting the position of masters and men, he did not think the men had their proper share of the wealth, but that was their own fault. They must combine, and by always keeping on the line of justice they would have the sympathy of the whole community. He mentioned the newly-formed Bozeat branch, numbering 57 members, who had already got an advance. The speaker concluded a much appreciated address by urging his hearers to join the union, and to induce others to do the same.

Mr Skeles moved, and Mr. Field seconded a vote of thanks to Mr. Inwood for his address and in reply that gentleman moved a similar vote to the chairman. The meeting then broke up and dancing was indulged in to a late hour to the strains of the Rushden Quadrille Band.

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