Monthly Report Books 1905-1919
Tin and Sheet Millmen's Association
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Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
The Tin and Sheet Millmen's Association was formed in 1899 to represent workers in the tinplate industry. It replaced the old Tinplate Workers' Union which had collapsed during an industry-wide depression in the 1890s. However, the new association did not prevent the British Steel Smelters' and Dockers' Unions actively recruiting tinplate workers. This caused a great deal of friction between the three unions which was never resolved fully. Attempts to amalgamate the Steel Smelters' and Tin and Sheet Millmen's Unions were made during annual industry conferences in 1901, 1902 and 1903. The failure to find an adequate solution resulted in two serious disputes at the Abertillery Works in 1908 and the Glanrhyd Works (Pontardawe) in 1911. Eventually an agreement was made whereby each union would only control works where they had atleast three quarters of the workers as members.
In 1916, the Tin and Sheet Millmen's Association took part in a conference in London to discuss the possible of joining the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation (ISTC). Their amalgamation bid failed however, as the Association failed to raise a majority vote in favour of the proposal. The Association remained independant until falling membership and growing financial difficulties forced it to reconsider amalgamation with the ISTC in 1922. In theory the Association remained a separate organisation within the ISTC, however in practice, their negotiation and representative powers were taken over by the Tinplate and Sheet Trades Joint Industrial Council. The latter was a representative branch of the the British Iron, Steel and Kindred Trades Association (BISKATA) which was the official union of the ISTC.
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Donated by the Tin and Sheet Millmen Association, 29 June 1973 as part of the South Wales Coalfield Project
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W. E. Minchinton, The British Tinplate Industry: A History (Oxford, 1957)