|Rushden Echo, 29th January 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins
Labour Dispute at Rushden - Objection to Non-Unionist Workers Men Return to Work
A strike occurred on Monday at the factory of Mr John Clark, trading as Messrs Jaques and Clark, boot manufacturers, Rushden. Altogether there are about 400 employed, in-workers and out-workers. The dispute arose through the members of the Boot and Shoe Operatives’ Union refusing to work with non-unionists. We understand that about 20 of the inside male employees, besides females, are non-unionists. The officials of the local branch of the Boot and Shoe Operatives’ Union were consulted, and negotiations were opened.
On Tuesday the men met the branch officials at the factory at 7a.m. and discussed the whole question, and at 10a.m. they met again at the Co-operative Hall. Mr John Clark was present at the invitation of the Union, and the whole position was discussed in a very friendly spirit.
Mr Clark says he believes that every man should be free to join the Union or not as he wishes, and he adds that he has never shown any favouritism as between unionists and non-unionists. He objects, he says, to have to inquire, in setting on an operative, whether he is a member of the union or not. On the other hand, the trade unionists argue that they are weakening the improvement of conditions of both unionists and non-unionists and that those outside the union ought to come inside.
A court of enquiry was held on Wednesday night by the sub-committee of the local Arbitration Board, and the proceedings were of a fairly satisfactory character.
On Thursday morning the men returned to work on the conditions which existed before the strike. The factory was kept going the whole time for the non-unionists.