Papermaking at Tuckenhay Mill

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Profession - 1921 OSP

Reference: The Annual Statement of the Receipts and Expenditure of the Original Society of Papermakers for the Year ending July 2nd, 1921.



2nd JULY, 1921


In submitting the report and Statement for the year ending 2nd July 1921, I regret to announce a loss on the year of £587 6s. 2d. When we commenced the financial year, now ended, the outlook was very promising and we looked forward to experiencing a successful and flourishing and period of trade. This view was justified by the fact that nearly all our mills were then running on overtime, and but very few men out of work. This state of affairs continued until very nearly the end of the half-year, 18th December 1920, and we effected a saving of £253 13s. 4 ½d. A sudden change took place directly afterwards, vats were shut down at various mills, overtime curtailed, and we were informed orders had been cancelled. There was also the disturbed state of the industrial world, both at home and abroad, and this aggravated the position. The dispute in the coal trade, coupled with the prolonged stoppage in that industry, was a factor that affected every grade of worker throughout the country, and was the cause of many of our mills being laid still for longer than they would have been had a supply of fuel been forthcoming. However, in spite of all these troubles, some of the mills continued to run on at the overtime rate, thus showing there was trade to be done and orders being executed. But this state of affairs was not universal, had it been so, there is no doubt a different ending would have been arrived at, in our attempt to obtain a further advance of wages and a holiday pay, than was the case.

The end of the second half of our year revealed how heavy a drain there has been upon our resources, and we suffered a loss of (£840 19s. 6 ½d.) for the period. Money sent to the mills amounted to £763 4s. 2d., an increase of £639 15s. 10d. over the preceding half-year; Superannuation shows an increase of £58 7s. 10 ½d. over last year; Trade Pay to Journeymen, by Secretary, increased from £124 13s. 4d. in 1920 to £239 3s. 4d. in 1921, or £114 10s. 0d. more than the previous year.

Trade Expenses increased by £73 10s. ½d. over last year; this increase is accounted for by the issuing of new rule books, extra conferences in connection with the advance question, the issue of contribution cards, and an increase in the cost of printing, etc. Postage has also increased. This item would have been considerably more but for the co-operation of Mills' Clerks in the administration of both Superannuation and Trade Pay.

To give an illustration of the saving effected in respect of the administration of Trade Pay, by Secretary, it is necessary to quote the following:-

In the district of one mill, eleven men were on the Secretary's list of men unemployed. The cost of sending one man's pay every week is now 4 ½d. If Secretary had sent to each man individually the cost would have been 4s. 1 ½d. weekly, by an arrangement with the men, the whole amount was despatched every week from Headquarters at a cost of about 7 ½d; the receipt cards signed and returned to Secretary in bulk, and no inconvenience experienced by the men.

The year has been a very searching one for all Trade Unions, and some have had their funds exhausted; it is satisfactory to know all our benefits have been maintained.

It is gratifying to know that Shoreham Mill has again started after remaining still for several years. The trade has also bought the members back again to active membership who are working at Laverstoke Mill, and the Balance Sheet compares favourably with any other mill. In general, however, trade remains at a low ebb and the end of the year has bought no brighter outlook, many mills still remaining closed. After such a gigantic upheaval as the war wrought, the transformation from a war to peace footing is bound to take time, but trade will recover again and we hope, when revival comes, the Hand-made Paper Trade will receive its due share in the field of industry. What is required is to re-establish confidence in the industrial world by the obliteration of selfishness and suspicion between employers and employed and to take our stand as men, determined to obtain the highest and best there is to be obtained in a fair and honorable manner. It is by this means that we shall learn we are interdependent on each other.

I return for the renewal of your confidence in me, and trust you will appreciate I have done the best I could during a trying and arduous time; to Mills' Clerks ad Auditors, my thanks for their assistance, and trusting a brighter and more prosperous time is now commencing.

I am,

Yours faithfully,