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Pay, Strikes and Living Conditions - Strikes 

pay and living conditions strikes 1900-1903 penrhyn strike
development of trade unionism quarry management  

Who were the seven? 

Robert Davies of Tregarth, a well-known Union leader and first class orator led the deputation. He was a deacon in a local Independent Chapel. Thomas Roberts of Sling also held a similar post in his chapel and represented the rybelwyr on the committee. Robert Thomas of Penybryn was regarded as a very skilled quarryman and was a member of the Salvation Army. William Williams from Gerlan had been a member of the deputation to the first Lord Penrhyn during the Pennant Lloyd negotiations of 1874. He is to be seen in famous painting of the event. He was a Methodist deacon. Another who had worked at the quarry all his life was Robert Roberts, Caerllwyngrydd and a Union member to the marrow of his bones. He represented the labrwyr on the committee. Henry Jones of Gerlan was an Anglican as was Benjamin T. Williams. He was a fitter by trade at the quarry and represented that group. (Interestingly enough, Henry Jones would become chairman of the committee during the Great Strike of 1900-03, as would be William Williams.) Henry Jones would wonder how the Vicar of Bethesda could pass his front door during the great strike when visiting parishioners. 

These were the men libelled as Agitators by E.A. Young. The day following the dismissals, the men refused to take their bargains and start work until they received an explanation of Young's actions. It was September 29th, and the following day they were locked out. This lock out, which Young called a strike was to last until August 1897. During this time E.A. Young became the focus of great resentment. In order to alleviate the poverty of the men, the Daily Telegraph together with concerts and general subscriptions collected £19,161 for the locked out men. During the lock out, Young always made certain that spies employed by him kept a meticulous record of not only what was said but also who said what. These reports were meticulously scrutinised by him and indexed for further use. Real anxiety, uncertainty and fear of victimisation remained though. In June 1899, Robert Davies who had chaired numerous deputations to Lord Penrhyn was dismissed. Two months before that Young ordered that from then on union payments were not to be collected at the quarry. The situation was slowly but surely reaching breaking point.


Robert Davies Robert Roberts William Williams Henry Jones R. Roberts
R. Davies R. Roberts W. Williams H. Jones R. Thomas
Thomas Roberts Benjamin Williams
T. Roberts Benjamin T. Williams
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