Safwn Gyda’n Gilydd

Women’s role in the Streic Chwarelwyr 1985 - 6, Blaenau Ffestiniog


Source: Llechi Cymru: Cyflogau, Streiciau a Safon Byw - Streiciau 

Y streic fwyaf sylweddol yn y cyfnod diweddar oedd Streic 1985-86, pan safwyd allan am saith mis. Hon oedd streic fwyaf y Blaenau ers 1893. Fe'i canolwyd ar Gwmni Llechi Ffestiniog, sef tair chwarel, Gloddfa Ganol, Yr Oakeley a Chwt y Bugail oedd yn gweithredu mewn partneriaeth. Sefydlwyd y cwmni ym 1971 ac am dros ddegawd fe weithredwyd y Sustem Bonws o gyflogau yn llwyddiannus. Penderfynodd y perchnogion i ddileu'r sustem yma gan lleihau cyflogau a hefydddal i wrthod talu cyflogau cyfartal i ferched. Golygai hynny leihad o £28.50 yn eu cyflog wythnosol. Gwrthwynebodd 17 o weithwyr y sustem newydd ac fe'u diswyddwyd.

Dechreuwyd gweithio i reol yng Nghwt y Bugail. Ymateb y perchnogion oedd cynyddu oriau gwaith yn yr Oakeley a'r Gloddfa Ganol i wneud i fyny am y diffyg. Pendefrynodd gweithwyr y dair chwarel wedyn i weithio fel uned a dod allan ar streic ar Awst 19eg.

Yn y streic hon fe chwaraeodd y gwragedd a'r merched ran flaenllaw. Roeddynt wedi bod yn trefnu i yrru parseli bwyd i lawr i lowyr y De oedd allan ar streic yn ystod 1984-85. Yn sydyn, gwragedd a merched y glowyr oedd yn gyrru parseli bwyd i deuluoedd streicwyr Blaenau Ffestiniog. Cafwyd cefnogaeth anhygoel gan fudiadau ac unigolion a derbyniwyd bron i fil o lythyrau o gefnogaeth. Ar ben hyn gwnaethpwyd casgliadau stryd bob Sadwrn ym Mangor, Caernarfon, Aberystwyth a Chaerdydd.

Wedi tair wythnos ar ddeg, dychwelodd wyth dyn ac un gwraig i'w gwaith; gweithred a roddodd derfyn ar unrhyw obaith am setlo buan. Daeth y gair 'Bradwr' i mewn i'r eirfa, a daeth y merched i gefnogi ar y llinellau piced.

Erbyn Tachwedd, rhaid oedd dechrau meddwl sut y gellid rhoi Nadolig hapus i'r 55 plentyn. Yn dilyn apel, llifodd arian, tegannau ac hamperi i'r Blaenau o bob cyfeiriad ac yn enwedig gan lowyr y de.

Erbyn ganol Ionawr 1986, roedd undeb y T.&.G.W.U. yn flaenllaw gyda phrif swyddogion yr undeb ar y llinellau piced. Recordiwyd caset 'Safwn gyda'n Gilydd' gan rai o brif berfformwyr ac ysgrifennwyr y wlad.

 'Safwn gyda'n gilydd' 

Nid gofyn wnawn am gardod, na gofyn ffafr chwaith
Ond gofyn am ein haeddiant am ddiwrnod o waith.
Er mwyn y rhai fu'n aberth i lwch y garreg las,
Er mwyn y rhai fu'n brwydro ar graig a ffridd a ffas.
Safwn gyda'n gilydd, safwn fel un gwr,
Safwn gyda'n gilydd fel un gwr.

Aeth wythnos arall heibio heb son am babpur bach,
Rhaid sefyll ar y biced a byw ar awyr iach,
Rhaid peidio gwangaloni na phlygu dan y straen,
O freichiau ffrindiau fyddlon daw nerth i gario 'mlaen.

Safwn gyda'n gilydd, sfawn fel un gwr,
Safwn gyda'n gilydd fel un gwr.

(Dafydd Iwan)

Cynhaliwyd Rali Fawr o dros 2,000 o gefnogwyr ar Fawrth 1af, 1986, a hithau'n dywydd deifiol o oer. Ac yna, daeth y diwedd. Ddechrau wythnos yng nghanol mis Mawrth, pleidleisiwyd i derfynu'r streic a derbyn y taliad gan y rheolwyr i weithwyr yr Oakeley. Ond yn dilyn ansicrwydd gyda geiriad y cynnig, cymerwyd pleidlais arall rai dyddiau yn ddiweddarach, gan benderfynu dal i sefyll alla

' Saif y gweithwyr gyda'u gilydd, dychwelodd gweithwyr Chwarel Bwlch i'w gwaith, a gobeithio y bydd gweithwyr Gloddfa Ganol yn gweithio erbyn y Sulgwyn. Safodd gweithwyr yr Oakeley gyda'u gilydd yn erbyn cael eu rhannu gan adael i Eifion Williams ddethol a dewis yn ol ei fympwy pa weithwyr yr oedd am eu hail gyflogi. Penderfynasant beidio trafod ag ef, ac yn awr y mae heb grefftwyr.

(Safwn gyda'n gilydd Blaenau Ffestiniog 1985-1986, tud 67, cyf)

Strike 1985-86

The most significant strike in recent times was the 1985-86 strike, when workers were ut for seven months. It was the biggest strike in Blaenau since 1893. It was centered on the Ffestiniog Slate Company, which consists of three quarries, Gloddfa Ganol, The Oakeley and Cwt y Bugail who were operating in partnership. The company was established in 1971 and for over a decade the Bonus Payroll System had been successfully implemented. The owners decided to eliminate this system, to reduce wages and refusing to pay equal pay for women. That would mean a reduction of £ 28.50 in their weekly wages. 17 workers opposed the new system and were dismissed.

Cot y Bugail started working for a rule. The owners' response was to increase hours of work in the Oakeley and Gloddfa Ganol to make up for the shortfall. The workers of the three quarries then split off to work as a unit and get out on strike on August 19th.

In this strike the women and women played a leading role. They had been organizing to drive down food parcels to South miners who were out on strike during 1984-85. Suddenly, the men and women of the miners were driving food parcels to the families of the strikers of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Incredible support was received from organizations and individuals, with almost a thousand letters of support. In addition, street collections were made every Saturday in Bangor, Caernarfon, Aberystwyth and Cardiff.

After thirteen weeks, eight men and one wife returned to their work; An act that put an end to any hope of settling fast. The word 'Bradwr' came into the glossary, and the girls came to support the picket lines. By November, we had to start thinking about how the 55 children could be given a happy Christmas. Following an appeal, silver, toys and hampers flew into Blaenau from all directions and especially by south miners.

By the middle of January 1986, the T & G union was leading the union's chief officers on the picket lines. 'Stand together' was recorded by some of the country's leading performers and writers.

'Stand together'

We do not ask for a girdle, nor ask a favor either
But ask for our desires for a day of work.
For those who have been sacrifices to the dust of the bluestone,
For those who battled on rock and fry and fashion.
Stand together, stand as one husband,
We stand together as one husband.

Another week passed without mentioning a little babper,
You must sit on the picket and live on a fresh air,
Non-stagnation or stress-tightening,
Strengths of brave friends have strength to carry on.

We stand together, we look like one husband,
We stand together as one husband.

(Dafydd Iwan)

A Great Rally of over 2,000 fans was held on March 1st, 1986, which was a cold weather.

And then, the end came. Beginning a week in mid-March, it was voted to terminate the strike and accept the payment from the management to Oakeley workers. But following uncertainty with the wording of the motion, another vote was taken some days later, deciding to still stand out.


The workers say together, the Bwlch Quarry workers returned to their work, and I hope that the workers of Gloddfa Ganol will work by the Whitsun. The Oakeley workers stood together against being shared and let Eifion Williams select and choose according to his whichever employees he wanted to re-employ. They decided not to talk to him, and now he has no craftsmen.

(Safwn gyda'n gilydd Blaenau Ffestiniog 1985-1986, page 67, ref)