Sunday 29 November 2020

Robert Barrie Walker - National Union of Agricultural Workers - "The King's Pay and the King's Conditions"

Robert Barrie Walker
(13 October 1878 – 25 August 1961)
Born Carstairs, Lanarkshire
Son of a Scot's ploughman

Walker initially worked on the railways, before moving to England. He enlisted in the British Army and served in the Boer War. When demobbed, he became involved in trade union organising in the Midlands. Before, securing a post with the National Union of Agricultural Workers in 1910 and moving to Fakenham, Norfolk

In 1914 while agricultural wages stood still at around 14 Shillings a week , and in some places as low as 13 shillings.

A number of the farm workers on the King's estate at Sandringham, Norfolk were members if the National Union of Agricultural Workers, and on their behalf Robert Walker met the King's agent, Captain Beck, and put forward the case for higher wages and the half-holiday.

As a result of this meeting, the men working on the King's own farms got their 16 shillings a week, the Saturday half holiday and a promise from Captain Beck that he would recommend all the King's farmer tenants that all farm cottages should be let on a minimum six month months' tenancy.

"The King's Pay and the King's Conditions"

became the slogan and battle cry of the Norfolk Agricultural Labourers"

Walker narrowly failed to be elected as MP for Kings Lynn in December 1918 securing 9,780 to the Coalition 10,146, he stood again at Lynn in 1922
and later at Ormskirk in 1923 and 1924.

General Secretary National Union of Agricultural Workers 1912-1928
and subsequently emigrated to Perth, Australia where he died in 1961