Dispute Week 5 – Latest News

30 January 1885

January 30th 1885.

The Denaby Main Dispute

At present there is no likelihood of an immediate settlement to this dispute. The disappearance of the stack of coal does not seem likely to be effected as promptly as the men anticipated, for during the past week filling up operations have only been carried on at intervals, the delay in it´s removal being caused, it is supposed, by the poor call at present existing for steam coal, other pits in the neighbourhood being similarly affected.

Powell, the man suffering from smallpox, is doing well, and it is hoped steps taken to prevent the spread of the disease will continue to be effectual.

Preparations for the re-vaccination of all who desire it have been made by the authorities.

So far little heed appears to have been given to the notices served on the colliers and fillers occupying the company´s houses on Wednesday week, very few families having left the village. The general opinion amongst the men is that, under the circumstances, it is impossible for the owners to evict them. On the occasion of the last dispute at Denaby Main of any importance, now over six years ago, when the men refused to work because the stack was assuming large proportions, about half-a-dozen families belonging to the leaders of the agitation were turned out of their cottages, and placed with their furniture and other belongings in the middle of the turnpike road, the ground at the time being covered by snow. The men soon after resumed work, but at a 5% loss in wages, the strike lasting about fourteen weeks.

The men at Denaby Main still say they will not go to work until the precise effect of the employers´ terms have been discovered by arbitration.

The week´s notice given by the company to the miners to quite their houses expired on Wednesday. The men treat the matter very lightly, and express an opinion that as the rent is paid every Saturday, and the notices were served on Wednesday, the notices were illegal.

In case the company evict the tenants from their cottages, the miners and their families would have no shelter, as there is only just sufficient house accommodation in Mexborough for the needs of the inhabitants.

Notices have been posted in Mexborough by the Local Authority urging on the inhabitants the necessity for re-vaccination in view of the outbreak of smallpox in Denaby Main, and it is anticipated that effectual means will be adopted to prevent the spread of the disease.

A meeting of the council of the South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Miners´ Association was held on Monday, when the question of the dispute at Denaby Main was exhaustively gone into. The secretary ( Mr. W. Chappell ) questioned the delegates as to the effect of the proposed arrangement on the miners.

The council was unanimously of opinion that the change would effect a reduction of no less than from 20% to 25%.

A meeting of the Denaby Main miners was held at the lodge room, the Mason´s Arms Inn, Mexborough, on Tuesday morning. The names of the members of the South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Miners´ Association were called over, when it was found the majority were still in the locality, two men were told off to accompany Mr. W. Chappell, the secretary of the association, to Kiveton Park, for the purpose of laying a statement of their case before the miners of that locality.

It was announced that the money received from tradesmen and others in the vicinity had been expended in purchasing flour.

A rumour had been circulated amongst the men to the effect that the pit would be thrown open shortly, and one report, which gained wide credence, was to the effect that the owners would give 7s. per day to colliers and 5s. to fillers who would go to work.

It was resolved unanimously that if the report were correct the men would be willing to go to work at the prices named.

Another resolution, ” That we submit to no reduction, but are willing to return to work on the old terms, and that when we do commence working we all go together,” was carried.

It was stated on Tuesday by an official at the colliery that the report which has been extensively circulated to the effect that the pit will be open on Monday to all who care to go to work, is without foundation.

No fresh cases of smallpox have occurred.