Dispute – May 15th f – Rev T.J. Leslie – Barnsley Association

May 1885

The Miners And The South Yorkshire Association

It was decided on a proposition by the chairman, that the men join the Barnsley association.

A miner stated that he was at the district committee meeting the previous week, when it was decided that every lodge decide by ballot whether they were to wind up the association and join that at Barnsley or not.

( A Voice : We don´t acknowledge any district besides Barnsley now.)

The Chairman said they should be honourable, as the Manvers Main and Thrybergh Hall collieries had been. ( Hear, hear )
They should pay the debts off which had been contracted. The Thrybergh Hall men had decided to go back to Barnsley. The three committees would meet again that night to decide in what manner they were to act. According to what had been intimated they would all go back to Barnsley. If they had belonged to Barnsley before, they would not have been in that position. There would, however, be no ballot at Denaby Main. It was too late for that. The only question which remained was – were they willing to pay their share the expenses which had been incurred by the district ? ( Cries of “Yes”)

Another miner spoke in favour of the men discharging their liabilities. He stated that the Thorncliffe and Kiveton Park men would be present at the committee meeting that night, for the purpose of deciding whether they should pay an equal share with the others.

The Chairman stated that Mr. Chappell had obtained a situation on the rail- way, and they should discharge their liabilities and have done with the matter altogether.

Address By The Rev. T.J. Leslie.

The Rev. T.J. Leslie then addressed the meeting. He said he thought he would be able to say a word or two concerning the character of the deputation.

He wished they would send men who would be able to put their case fairly and intelligently either to the manager or the directors. They had a good case, and he should not like that case to be injured by any lack of ability on the part of the men whom they would send. He was expecting a deputation to be sent for. He wrote a letter on Wednesday to one of the directors, in which he said that his hands were full of work, and that the correspondence must close.

He would take them into his confidence. A week ago, when the last evictions took place, he took it on himself, without the advice or counsel of their committee to wait on one of the directors of the colliery. He gained an interview with him, in the presence of a gentleman who was highly esteemed and beloved by all who knew him, whose name was a household word – an ex-M.P.

That gentleman who had a seat on the directorate of the company of course spoke rather warmly at the commencement of the interview, and during his remarks he said the Denaby Main company had been paying their men 30% more than other pits in the district.

He ( Rev. Leslie ), listened to what he had to say, and as soon as the opportunity presented itself, asked that gentleman if he had that knowledge from a personal examination of the wages books, or from the report which had been placed in front of the Board of Directors, because he himself had a different story to tell.

He said he had had the opportunity of investigating the weekly pay sheets, and that on some of those sheets there were nine men working in one `bank´ during the latter month of 1884, and that these men did not average £1 each. He also said that if that were the case – and he knew it was – and the company had been paying 30% above other collieries in the neighbourhood, those colliers must have been receiving very small wages indeed. ( Hear, hear )

He returned to his home with a very strong hope and expectation that a meeting of the deputation and the directors would take place the following day. He might say he was not alone in the hope.

A gentleman writing on he 5 th inst. stated that he had telegraphed to Mr. Pope´s address, but had received no reply. A considerable amount of correspondence had passed between himself and the gentleman interested in that lock-out during the past week.

He hoped now that a deputation had been asked for, that an amicable and most satisfactory settlement would take place. ( Hear, hear )

If a settlement were not arrived at it would not be the fault of the men.

( Applause ) They were simply asking for that which was right ; they were making no unjust demands upon the owners at Denaby Main. He believed that without any exception the men were all prepared to go to work if reasonable terms were offered.

Not only the men, but their wives, were desirous that that struggle should come to an end. They were, however, just as determined as the men were to stand by and adhere to the right.

The Chairman, remarking that they were much indebted to the Rev. Leslie for his speech. He had alluded to the rain. Since those unfortunate men had come into their midst they had never had fine weather ; it had always been cloudy.

The meeting was then terminated.

A vote of thanks was accorded to the Rev. T.J. Leslie for the services he had rendered to the men.

The men are in high spirits at the prospect of a settlement.