Pensioners Views on Cadeby Ballot Query – “No Axe to Grind”

June 1947

South Yorkshire Times June 28, 1947

“No Axe to Grind”
Pensioners Views on Cadeby Ballot Query

67 year old Mr Tom Hill former president and treasurer of Cadeby main branch of the old Yorkshire Mineworkers Association, whose intervention on behalf of his fellow old age pensioners caused the cancellation of Cadeby’s annual ballot for branch officials. Told the “South Yorkshire Times” on Monday the reason for his stand.

The ballot stands adjourned until an official from the Yorkshire area headquarters of the National Union of Mineworkers visits the branch to discuss the position.

“On January 5, 1947,” Mr Hill said, “I was given the honour of handing over the National Coal Board flag at Cadeby on national vesting day. Six months later I am to be disfranchised. Naturally we pensioners are bitter after our lifelong efforts to better conditions for the miners who are in the industry today. It is a bitter pill for the old men to swallow.

“I retired in February, 1945. I had worked at the pit since 1908. From 1910 to 1925 I was president of the branch; from 1926 to 1928 I was treasurer. I was a member of the joint board for wages ascertains for Yorkshire (South and West). In 1910 when I took over, there were 3000 employees at Cadeby and only 382 men on the union books. Men who are still working at the colliery can remember how we stood on the bridge, organising, organising, organising, entail the branch was 100%. I think I have made my contribution to make Cadeby a union pit.”

Long Experience of the Industry

Mr Hill pointed out that he and the old age pensioners had no axe to grind except to help in the return of level-headed and sensible branch leaders. Were not the old men, with their long experience of the industry, as much entitled to vote as boys between 14 and 16? The state did not take the vote from pensioners when they began to draw pensions, nor did the councillors at the elections bar the old men.

Cadeby branch of the Union claim they are bound by branch decision that only contribution members – members campaign contributions of sixpence one shilling – are entitled to vote, but the pensioners maintained that they have a right to vote under the rules of the Yorkshire area. They pay contributions of 3d per week and all financial members, they claim, are entitled to vote.

“Of the shilling contribution paid by contributory members,” Mr Hill explained, “an amount of 7 ½ goes to the Federation respect of strike pay, of which the pensioners will never be in need and that of the remaining 4 ½d, 3 ½ pence goes to Barnsley to help pay officials and area expenses for deputations, etc.”

There are five candidates in the ballot for the position of secretary and five for the position of delegate. The retiring officials, Messrs J. Madin, who has held the secretary ship for 18 years, and Salt, are seeking re-election.