The third annual supper of the employees and staff of Mr J White, boot and shoe manufacturer, Newton-road was held at the Co-operative Hall on Friday last. There were 230 at the tables, the head table being occupied by Mr and Mrs White, Miss White, Mr L Penness, Mr and Mrs H Lewis, Mr and Mrs S Lawman, Mr L Hirons, Mr and Mrs J Lickerish, and the office staff.
After a splendid repast, admirably catered for by Mr W H Marriott and the Co-operative Society catering department, Mr Penness explained the new benevolent scheme which the firm proposed, with the consent of the employees, to adopt. As they were all aware, they had a benevolent scheme at present which was only a small affair, and also the hospital scheme, which was well known to them all. It had been suggested, and practically taken up, that they dispense with the present system and use the same subscriptions in a bigger benevolent scheme. They were all informed of the benefits they got through the hospital fund, and the new scheme was that they pay the same subscription (2d. per week), the whole of the money to be kept in the benevolent fund and paid out in benefits as it was needed and to cover any financial assistance required through illness by employees and dependents. With a subscription of 2d. instead of 1d., this would ensure a good working balance and would enable grants to be made to the hospital direct of upwards of £100 per year or nearly so. They did not want to get a balance of £150, and if they had it they wanted to spend it. Instead of getting the benefit as at present, they would get it through their firm. With the 2d. per week subscription from the employees, the amount would reach something like £100 a year. Taking an average of two guineas a week, and Mr White had promised that he would increase the subscription by about 50 per cent, whatever it was. (Applause) As there would be no expenditure whatever for working costs, they could make a grant to the hospital of about £100 per year after giving other assistance. As compared with the hospital scheme the new one would be very good, and there would be just as many benefits in it. If the worst came to the worst, they would get just as much benefit, and probably more. All that was now needed was that the employees should adopt it. The new scheme was also very good because they knew there were some cases that would not permit a lot of expenditure with regard to medical attention, and if there were any like this in low circumstances, they could have the services of a specialist if required, and they had only to bring their names before the committee and every possible assistance would be given them.
Mr Lewis, in proposing the adoption of the scheme and a vote of thanks to the committee for the arranging of supper, said that that kind of thing helped to strengthen the feeling of goodwill between the master and the men and between the various departments. In thanking Mr White for the way in which he had looked after them, he wishes Mr, Mrs and Miss White every prosperity and good health.
The voting in favour of the scheme was unanimous.
Mr White expressed his great pleasure at being there that evening. He had not much to say, except in regard to the new scheme. It was considerably better than the old one. He saw no reason why they should not make a grant of something like £100 to the hospital. They had no fault to find with the old scheme, but they thought they had one better. Regarding the factory, he was pleased to say they had had a most successful year as regards work they had had going in. He was glad to be able to tell them they were sure of that for some considerable time to come. At the same time, he would like to thank them for their co-operation, which had enabled them to work together so successfully. There had not been the least trouble or disturbance or disagreement right through the factoyr. Success was due to their loyal co-operation in the carrying out of the business. He hoped they would spend a very happy time that evening.
Mr J Lickerish proposed a vote of thanks to the caterers, and this was seconded by Mr Harry White and carried.
Mr Lawman said they were all sorry that Mr William White, brother of the proprietor of the firm, and a very well known tenor vocalist was not with them that evening, having just undergone an operation. He moved that a letter of sympathy be sent to him wishing him a speedy recovery.
Mr Lewis seconded, and the proposition was carried.
A splendidly varied concert then followed, the following artistes contributing some excellent numbers: Miss Fields, Miss E Hodgkins, Miss K House, Mr J Reeves, Mr J Bailey, Mr J Sinfield, Mr W Hanger, and Mr H Kingham.
Following the concert the hall was cleared for dancing, and the company spent a very enjoyable time until one o’clock. Mr H Rice’s orchestra played for the dancing. The M.C. was Mr H Hanger.