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Shoe & Leather News, 13th December 1917
Notes from Shoe & Leather News
13th Dec 1917

Mr A E Wright, shoe manufacturer, Higham Ferrers, was installed worshipful master of the Pemberton Lodge (3,039) of Freemasons, at Rushden, on Thursday last, the 6th inst.

Alderman Owen Parker, J.P., who was recently appointed Director of War-time Boots, does not, I understand, intend to remain permanently in charge of the Department. No doubt, in his extremely busy life there is not a sufficient gap to allow him to continue at the post for any great length of time. Alderman Parker has only accepted the important and honourable position temporarily.

Mr. Owen Parker has recognised that to further deplete the boot factories of man-power would be a dangerous expedient both for the industry and the country, and with characteristic thoroughness he has made his view available to the Minister for National Service. Mr. Parker is high in the Councils of the Government in this particular branch of industry, and, therefore, his opinion will carry great weight. Manufacturers have bravely struggled against dislocation consequent on the constant withdrawal of labour for the army, and they will greatly welcome a possible period of comparative calm. They have been extremely patriotic and patient as a whole, and for the successful manner in which they have "carried on" amid an almost endless series of hindrances they deserve the praise and thanks of the ''powers that be."

The "strikes" at the Wollaston district, which terminated a fortnight ago, have left the district somewhat unsettled. The men are restless owing to the various wages paid, and all want the same as the other man, if he gets a lot. A few men struck work again last week, but returned after they had made a "protest." The situation is very difficult, as I explained last week, and some workmen will not see, or cannot see, anything in an argument or explanation. They are obsessed with the view that "Tom" or "Bill" get more than they do.
The district is trying piecework or the supplementary wage system for a month to see how it works, but, owing to the peculiarities of the district, I expect it will be found necessary to return to the weekly wage and bonus system.
Manufacturers had hoped to see the prices for standard footwear fixed before this; some have stocks on hand. I understand that the Monmouthshire County Board, which met at Kettering on Tuesday, considered this matter among others.
The Chamber of Commerce meeting at Rushden bit deeply into the sympathies of the district. Already as a result of the gathering over 30 manufacturers have joined.
The Rushden and District Foremen's Society had a treat on Thursday, when Mr. E. W. Sidwell, of Kettering, addressed them on "Foremen, Past and Present."
The military tribunal of Rushden are not going to adopt an inflexible rule to put a V.T.C. condition on all who obtain exemption. They will treat all cases on merits, and doubtless consider that when a man has done his best at the factory and for his allotment, he has done his full share of national service. Experts are beginning to find that all work and no recreation impairs efficiency.
The following prominent manufacturers were installed in office of the "Pemberton Lodge of Freemasons":—Bro. O. Claridge, S.D., Bro. B. G. Coe, J.D., Bro. F. Selwood, J.G., and Bro. Arthur Cave, Steward.

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