SOME OF THE 10,000 SPEAK OUT
CATHOLIC seamen writing from Liverpool this week strongly support Hugh Kay's warnings in the CATHOLIC HERALD on the unofficial Seamen's Reform Movement, which is backing the candidature of Mr. Jim Slater for the post of general secretary in the National Union of Seamen.
Hugh Kay's argument has been that, while Mr. Slater is not himself a Communist nor in any way subversive, he is being backed by Communists and his inexperience in trade union affairs would lay him wide open to influence from the Reform. Movement, in which Communists are active, and from other, unofficial sources.
The Reform Movement's chairman, Mr. Paddy Neary, replied recently to the effect that Jim Slater is also being backed by "the 10,000 Catholic seamen who ship out of the port of Liverpool". Some of the alleged 10,000 have written to the CATHOLIC HERALD. Here are some extracts from their letters: • " S a seaman of long 1-3.. standing 1 have known the hardships of early days at sea. These last few years, things have improved a lot. Maybe it is due to union influence or just evolution, but one thing I do know, and that is that it is not due to the cffors of Paddy and his kindergarten. " To hear these ' kids ' moaning and groaning about their rights makes mc want to be sea-sick. I've had more water over my hoots than some of them have ever sailed on. As to the Reform Movement, I think it is under the arm '. and, judging from some of those involved in it. it's more political than seamen's reform.
" Lots of Catholic seamen would write as I do, but they still have memories of Lemon Street, and they see the results of the chalking parties ' (an old C.P. dodge) naming good seamen as scabs.
" Yours truly,
" 10,000 MINUS ONE."
(The writer's name and address is supplied.) • "1" AM one of the 10,000
R.C. seamen that Paddy Neary mentions in the letter you published in the CATHOLIC HERALD. I. have no illusions as to the political connections of the Seamen's Reform Movement, and it is certainly not the Liberal Party, unless of course, they are due for infiltration similar to the Labour Party.
" Membership of the Communist Party is impossible to prove unless they show their party card, and they are not likely to do that. Don't publish my name and address, as I don't want my name chalked up in the street."
(Name and address supplied.) • "yOUR article about
Neary's Reform Movement states that Jim Slater is not a Communist. He may not be. but it is a fact that he is being backed by the Communists and that's a good enough reason for Catholic seamen to vote for one of the other candidates. Slater's name is chalked up all over he dock area in Liverpool and none of the other men get such publicity on the cheap.
" By all means let us have better conditions at sea, but Commies only want to cause chaos in the Merchant Service, so it's an experienced man who gets my vote.
" (Sgd.) A. POLE."
(Address supplied.) • " EALING with your
LP article about Neary's Reform Movement in the CATHOLIC HERALD, I am of the opinion that you certainly have your facts right.
Jim Scott said at a meeting here that he had done more for seamen in ten months than his predecessors had done in 10 years. Why ? Simply because he was a true reformer and had the seamen's cause truly at heart. Jim Slitter is but a novice by comparison with men schooled in trade union negotiation."
(Name and address supplied.)
IN defence of Mr. Slater's candiJ. dature comes a letter from Mr. R. Pcnaluna in North Shields. He begins by stating that Mr. Slater is al sea at present and cannot answer for himself. As one of his friends and organisers, Mr. Penaluna deals with the issue of Mr. Slater's experience: " It is time some new thinking was used and fresh ideas brought to the fore, so you can see we need a leader, not pert jockies. Maybe Hugh Kay has proof about the Reform Movement receiving Money from Australia, because I can assure you that we in the N.E. have not seen any of it, or from Canada. .
" It seems as if anybody who agitates for reform gets called a Communist, and the pity of it is that the ones who are not CI' members are not equipped or trained
was asked to run for general secretary by seamen who know a bit more than Neary, Rowe, or Kay. how Slater was punished, and his friend Applebs, because they fought and got results that are. being enjoyed by seamen now.
The proof has been curiously deleted from a lot of information to the seamen, i.e., the N.E. had the 44-hour agreement six weeks before the rest of the country. Jim Scott never denied this and admitted it helped him get it for everybody."
A missionary exhibition showing the work of the Canonesses of St. Augustine in Uganda and Vietnam is to he held in London next week, Thursday to Sunday, at More House, 53 Cromwell Road, S.W.7. All Interested in voluntary service overseas will find it an invaluable source of information, say the organisers.