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20 August 2013


October 1920 Correspondence.



The Transport Union wrote to the Minister of Labour on 15th October …….



“A Chara,



On the 27th April 1920, we served the following demand on behalf of our members employed by the Grand Canal Company, which members are engaged throughout the entire of the Company’s system, as boatmen, drivers, bulkers, storemen, lock-keepers, etc. viz:-



(1) For all employees, an increase of 20 shillings per week on present wages.



(2) For all employees, save men already working less than 48 hours, a 48 hour week.



(3) Overtime to be paid for at double-time rate.



(4) All Bank holidays to be allowed with full pay; when worked, double time payment to be allowed.



(5) No work to be performed between 1pm on Saturday and 6pm on Mondays.



(6) Boatmen to be allowed to stand by the boat they are working in.



We have since been in negotiation with the Company through the British Ministries of Labour and of Transport but nothing has been done to improve the conditions of the men. The Company was controlled up to some time ago, and was then precluded from raising its freight charges, but on de-control coming into operation, the Company was allowed to raise its freight charges by 120%. This increase, the Company contends, is insufficient to enable them to effect any improvement in their employees’ conditions – a view with which we are in disagreement.



The Company is understood to be in negotiation with the British Ministry of Transport and with the Canal Control Board with a view to securing a further increase on their freight charges.



Meanwhile, our men have had their demand pending for over 6 months, and it is over 12 months since they got any improvement in conditions, save for a slight concession granted to the boatmen in December last, the cost of living has greatly increased and our difficulties in keeping the men at work daily increase.



We are reluctant that there should be any stoppage on the Canal system, especially in view of the renewed efforts of the British Government to close down the Railways. We however, shall have no option but to allow the men to cease work unless something is done immediately by the Company to meet the long pending demand.


We shall be glad if your Department will do whatever is possible in this matter at the earliest moment. The address of the secretary of the Grand Canal Company is St. James' Harbour, Dublin.

Mise, le meas mor".

Joe Treacy 2013.

Bibliography:- From the files of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union ( Canal Section ) lodged at the Irish Labour History Museum and Archive, Beggars Bush, Dublin 4.


Last Updated ( 02 November 2013 )
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