Thomas Richards (Welsh politician)

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Thomas Richards in the mid-1900s Thomas Richards 1905.JPG
Thomas Richards in the mid-1900s

Thomas Richards (8 June 1859 – 7 November 1931) was a Welsh trade unionist and politician.

Wales Country in northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

A trade union is an association of workers forming a legal unit or legal personhood, usually called a "bargaining unit", which acts as bargaining agent and legal representative for a unit of employees in all matters of law or right arising from or in the administration of a collective agreement. Labour unions typically fund the formal organisation, head office, and legal team functions of the labour union through regular fees or union dues. The delegate staff of the labour union representation in the workforce are made up of workplace volunteers who are appointed by members in democratic elections.

Born in Beaufort, Richards was educated at the Beaufort British School, before becoming a coal miner at the age of twelve. In 1884, he was the main founder of the Ebbw Vale and Sirhowy Colliery Workmen's Association, serving as its secretary and agent. The association became part of the South Wales Miners' Federation in 1898, Richards continuing as agent of its Ebbw Vale District until 1901, while also becoming the first general secretary of the SWMF. [1]

Beaufort, Blaenau Gwent village and community in Blaenau Gwent, Wales

Beaufort is a village and community located in the historic county of Brecknockshire (Breconshire) and the preserved county of Gwent. It currently lies on the northern edge of the county borough of Blaenau Gwent in Wales. According to the 2011 census, the population of the ward of Beaufort is 3,866 with the community of Beaufort being 10,210.

The Ebbw Vale and Sirhowy Colliery Workmen's Association was a trade union representing coal miners in the Ebbw Vale area of South Wales.

South Wales Miners Federation

The South Wales Miners' Federation (SWMF), nicknamed "The Fed", was a trade union for coal miners in South Wales. It survives as the South Wales Area of the National Union of Mineworkers.

Richards was a supporter of the Liberal-Labour movement, and was elected to Monmouthshire County Council in 1904. That year, he won a by-election to become Member of Parliament for West Monmouthshire. In 1909, he was instructed by his trade union to resign the Liberal whip and take the Labour whip and at both the 1910 General Elections he stood as a Labour candidate. He held the seat until its abolition at the 1918 general election, when he was elected for the new Ebbw Vale constituency. He resigned from Parliament in 1920. [1]

The Liberal–Labour movement refers to the practice of local Liberal associations accepting and supporting candidates who were financially maintained by trade unions. These candidates stood for the British Parliament with the aim of representing the working classes, while remaining supportive of the Liberal Party in general.

Monmouthshire County Council

Monmouthshire County Council is the governing body for the Monmouthshire principal area – one of the unitary authorities of Wales.

Western Monmouthshire was a parliamentary constituency in Monmouthshire. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Out of Parliament, Richards devoted his time to the SWMF, and the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB). He represented them on the General Council of the Trades Union Congress from 1925, and served as President of the MFGB from 1929 to 1930. [1]

The Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) was established after a meeting of local mining trade unions in Newport, Wales in 1888. The federation was formed to represent and co-ordinate the affairs of local and regional miners' unions in England, Scotland and Wales whose associations remained largely autonomous. At its peak, the federation represented nearly one million workers. It was reorganised into the National Union of Mineworkers in 1945.

The General Council of the Trades Union Congress is an elected body which is responsible for carrying out the policies agreed at the annual British Trade Union Congresses (TUC).

Richards was made a Privy Councillor in 1918. [1]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Stenton, Michael; Lees, Stephen (1979). Who's Who of British Members of Parliament. III. Brighton: Harvester Press. p. 302. ISBN   0855273259.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir William Vernon Harcourt
Member of Parliament for West Monmouthshire
19041918
constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Ebbw Vale
19181920
Succeeded by
Evan Davies
Trade union offices
Preceded by
New position
Agent for the Ebbw Vale District of the South Wales Miners' Federation
1898–1899
Succeeded by
William Vyce
Preceded by
New position
Secretary of the South Wales Miners Federation
1898–1931
Succeeded by
Oliver Harris
Preceded by
Stephen Walsh
Vice-President of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain
1924–1929
Succeeded by
Ebby Edwards
Preceded by
Herbert Smith
President of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain
1929–1930
Succeeded by
Ebby Edwards