The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29
"That with reference to the reply of the E.C. to the question of the Pimlico Branch respecting suspension from benefit if a member be eight weeks contribution and eight weeks levy in arrears, is he disentitled to benefit. The members of this branch are of opinion the decision of the E.C. is erroneous, as the rules quoted by the E.C. distinctly state if a member is ten weeks and not ten shillings in arrears he shall be suspended two weeks from benefit."—Carried unanimously.
Reply.—Rule 17, clause 8, states that it is the duty of the B.S. to "bring forward every quarter all fines and levies which have not been paid, and enter them as arrears of contributions." In giving instructions for the guidance of officers and members on a silent point in the rales, the E.C. have decided that in bringing forward unpaid fines and levies, every shilling shall be treated as one week's contributions. The members of the Chelsea Branch have a perfect right to express the opinion that this is an erroneous decision, but they must remember that it is legally given in strict conformity with Rule 28, clause 1, and as such must be respected and adhered to until it is overruled by a superior authority.
"That we the members of the Sheffield 1st Branch protest with the Camden Town Branch against the answer sent in reply to the questions asked by the Sheffield 1st Branch in the October Monthly, it being no reply at all to the questions then asked, with the exception of the last one; therefore, we ask again, as the rule is silent on the point, what is meant by 'special fund for local purposes,' and likewise what is meant by the word 'district,' as worded in the rules? If it has no meaning, what use is it? as we are quite satisfied the rule is calculated to lead astray, which it has done already, and caused a great deal of dissatisfaction, by some of our best men leaving the society, and we consider the reply sent to the members of the Altrincham Branch will only have a tendency to aggravate the evil already existing, and if our E.C. thinks that the members are to be cajoled by such like answers, the sooner we have a change the better."
Reply.—The E.C. have decided that the words "local purposes" and "district" in Rule 9, clause 2, are elastic terms which can best be defined by the members who assemble in summoned meeting to determine whether they will by a voluntary act on the part of the branch contribute for the assistance of others in need of relief. Undoubtedly local levies produce dissatisfaction; so, also, do voluntary subscriptions; in fact, some men are always dissatisfied whenever they are called on to put their hands in their pockets. We have to the best of our ability endeavoured to give a straightforward answer to the question proposed; and if the members in their wisdom think fit to relieve us of our duties and entrust them to the care "of our best men leaving the society" to avoid the payment of a local levy imposed by a vote of their own branch, we shall cheerfully bow to the decision.