Thurrock News: May 1917: The Tilbury Laundry Girls are revolting….


AS part of our news coverage from the Grays and Tilbury Gazette during WW1


Tilbury Docks found itself in the throes of a one-day cessation of work on Monday, the cause of the trouble being the new War Bonus, which should have come into operation on the previous Thursday. The recent concession to the Port of London Authority’s men came into force on the latter day, and as a result of the negotiations which had gone on between the employers and men’s unions, the workers thought they would also share in the good fortune to the extent of 1s.6d. a day, making a 9s. New bonus for the week. Nothing, however, happened until it transpired that the only offer was a bonus of one shilling extra per day. Dissatisfaction simmered during the week-end, with the result that on Monday the whole of the casual workers in the dock declined to go in until they received the 1s.6d. a day contended to have been ceded by the Shipping Federation, This decision was a spontaneous one come to by the men themselves, and over two thousand transport workers were affected. Little work went on in the dock during the day, and at noon about 300 more men ceased work.


Apart from Monday’s dispute of the transport workers, Tilbury has been in the throes of another little labour trouble, the girls of the Tilbury Laundry Company coming out on strike for an increased war bonus. Rather over a year ago a similar strike secured them a bonus of 1s. a week, and on Monday they demanded an additional bonus of 1s. a week, which was at once refused. As a result 150 girls ceased work in the middle of the day and declared their intention of remaining out until their request received recognition. Beyond a certain amount of liveliness at the prospect of a holiday, the proceedings were quiet and matters have remained at a deadlock ever since. The Manager, Mr. A.V. Slattery, pointed out to the girls that it was impossible to grant such an increase without consideration by the Directors and invited them to return to work pending this being done. The invitation was declined and also an offer by the Directors that if work was resumed any individual cases would be considered and advances given to everyone whose position appeared to merit it. Consequently the whole of the laundry work has been at a standstill though arrangements have been made to obtain help from establishments elsewhere. Mr. Slattery stated on Thursday, to a Gazette representative, that the previous bonus was granted under an agreement that had been broken by the fresh demand. The strike was made entirely without notice and in view of this fact and the offers of settlement had been rejected the Company did not intend to give way. It was still open for the girls to come back on the terms proposed. Up to the time of going to print the employees were still out.


The Essex War Agricultural Committee wrote inviting cooperation in the destruction of rats and sparrows. The Clerk said they ha better send a letter on to the Parish Councils. Certainly that Council could not go after the rats and sparrows. Mr. Ridgwell extended a cordial invitation to everybody to come and assist in catching them around his place. Mr. Eve said it was not generally known that poisoned wheat was legal he had this on the authority of a Romford chemist. He was using it, and so were several others, who found it most satisfactory. It was decided to send the matter on to the Parish Councils.

BABY’S WEEK The Chairman, Mr. R.H.L. Williams, JP, intimated that a circular had been received from the National Baby League inviting the Council to assist in a campaign to do everything possible to encourage the rearing of children. The holding of a National Baby Week was proposed. Mr. Ridgwell suggested this should go on to the Parish Councils – Agreed.

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