Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners' Association.

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Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners' Association.

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History

The Aberdare Steam Collieries Association was founded in 1864 and, over a period of years, went through many internal changes and restructuring. The Association was first reconstructed in 1870 and named The South Wales Steam Collieries Association. It then formed a coalition with the Iron Masters in 1873 and was re-named The Monmouthshire and South Wales Collieries Association. The Association was reconstructed again in 1880, and in 1890 was re-named the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association, remaining active until 1955. The Association was guided and managed by a group of officers, comprising a Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the Association and each of its three districts, Chairmen for the Sliding Scale and Finance Committees, and a Solicitor, as well as a succession of Secretaries including Alexander Dalziel (1874-1884), W. Gascoyne Dalziel (1884-1916), Finlay A. Gibson (1916-1946) and Iestyn R. Williams (1947-1950). The Association’s activities were overseen by committees (Joint Sliding Scale Committee, Finance Committee, Conciliation Board, District Boards, Commercial Committee, Disputes Committee and Coal Cutters and Conveyers Committee, among others), and its members were organised into three districts: Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. While the workers formed trade unions, the Association represented the owners of the mines. Its main purpose was the presentation of a common front in their dealings with the miners and their labour issues, achieving higher productivity, and opposing wage increases. The Association established the Sliding Scale, a system which regulated wages across the industry, based on the selling price of coal; the administration of this scheme resulted in a large body of casework arising from disputes between members. The Association fiercely opposed the introduction of safety legislation, reductions in working hours, and recognition of trade unions, and was involved in a series of labour disputes arising from these issues. The Association also represented the coal owners in responding to proposed legislation and in court cases arising from disputes. With the nationalisation of the industry in 1947, the Association gradually came to an end.

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