The Denaby Main Dispute
Interview With The Chairman Of The Directors
The deputation appointed on Thursday to wait on Mr. Pope at the colliery assembled at two o´clock on Friday. On reaching the offices they were informed that their leader Mr. P. Hatton would not be allowed to proceed, and consequently he retired.
The deputation was then ushered into the colliery offices where :-
Mr. F. Buckingham Pope,
Mr. E. Pope,
Mr. W.H. Chambers ( manager ),
and Mr. J. Buckingham Pope ( managing director )
The Managing Director of the colliery said in the first instance it had appeared in the Press that he had sent for a deputation. They knew perfectly well that he had not done so, and that the suggestion came to him on the previous day from Major Hammond that they wished to meet him.
What did they want to say ?
Mr. Dixon said the men were desirous of arranging matters and of resuming work if there was any possibility of doing so. It had been intimated to them that the hand-picking system proposed previous to the stoppage had been withdrawn, they did not know whether such was the case or not.
Mr. Pope : That is not the case.
Mr. Dixon asked if Mr. Pope had any proposals to make.
Mr. Pope said he had no proposals at all. He thought they had some to make to him. A few months ago they came to him and said exactly what they were saying that day. He might tell them distinctly that the Denaby Main company intended to have their coal worked the way they wanted it. They had invested their money in this concern, and they had the right to say how they would have their coal worked. That must be obvious to everyone. If their men would not accept the terms the company offered they had only one course open to them, and that was to introduce other men. He told the deputation ( or rather Mr. Chambers told them ) previously the course the company intended to pursue They intended to introduce labour from other places. There were scores and hundreds – he might almost say thousands – of men who would jump at the prices proposed by the company. They all knew perfectly well that they had prevented those men from coming. The railways had been picqueted , and the roads had been watched toprevent the men arriving there to earn their livelihood at the colliery. That showed perfectly clearly that the men would come in absolutely any quantity if they were allowed. Why should they ask for higher wages than were received by their fellow labouring men ?
When they disagreed with the company on the question of wages and refused the company´s terms they absolutely allowed themselves to be put out of their houses. What further connection could they have with that place ? It was the company´s place, not the men´s, and they had been paid for all they had done. Why should they put picquets round the colliery and try to stop men coming ?
He would tell them distinctly that the company intended to introduce labour, as Mr. Chambers had told them before. They intended to introduce first of all the English men, and if the men succeeded in driving them away they would then introduce foreigners in such numbers that they could not be driven away.
Arrangements were even being made abroad. As he told those on the previous deputation the men were simply asking for something which it was utterly im- possible for the company to give as for them to give to them the county of Yorkshire. They were asking for more money than the coal would produce. If they had any common-sense or reasoning power they must know that it was a moral and absolute impossibility. If the company were to give them the wages they asked, the colliery would be wound up in a few months and the whole concern would stop. Where did they think the money could possibly come from to pay them wages more than their labour would produce ?
He would have thought that men of the most ordinary class would have seen that the thing was impossible. They knew the state of the trade. They knew that during the present strike of miners in Yorkshire only two or three, perhaps half a dozen, little collieries had been working, although there were 40,000 to 50,000 men out in the neighbourhood. The strike ought to have caused a tremendous demand and very high prices, but during the whole time the men had been out prices had been falling, and the collieries, although they had the whole of the market to themselves, had only been working three days a week. What could they have been doing even if they had been at work ?
So far as he could see, if the operations of these collieries were any criterion of the state of trade, they would not have been stacking coal at the time of a strike if they could have sold it. That showed that if they had been at work there would have been only one day and a half per week for them. They had got wages up in that district, they had kept them up and thought it very clever. They thought the Union had done a wonderful lot for them in the way of their keeping up wages in the district. What was the result ?
Trade was deserting the district. The company had to quote certain prices in order to make ends meet. They found all of their competitors – Scotland, Lanca- shire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Leicestershire – all quoting so much less, for the reason their men were working for less wages. As a consequence trade had left the district, and they were left high and dry. The men were fighting them and insisting on having high wages. Nothing could be clearer that the position of that district, and seen them working three days a week and stacking coal.
The Barrow colliery a short time ago, although the district had been out for a considerable time, had three or four hundred waggons of coal still on hand. That showed the wages they were asking were impossible.
A great many false statements had been made concerning that dispute. Only the previous day the Rev. Leslie remarked that he understood a deputation had been asked for. They knew perfectly well that was not true, but they had those things put in the papers and they were copied from one paper to another. Reports were spread about in that way. He was extremely sorry that the Rev. Leslie should have taken the course he had. He must know how those things had been brought about. It was really painful to hear him constantly making statements which were not founded on fact. He would only give them one of a hundred reports which were being disseminated constantly, and which were utterly false. The Rev. Leslie said that the men had documents in their possession to show the rate of wages at Denaby Main was 10% less than in other collieries. As all of them knew, that was an utter untruth – there was not a man present but what knew that. What was the good of circulating reports of that description ?
The company had their wages books, and had offered to show them, but no one had offered to inspect them – neither the Rev. Leslie or anyone else. And yet he ( Rev. Leslie ) went and repeated anything which people told him and he never came to make the slightest inquiry. So many of those false reports having been promulgated, and the company having been used, as he thought, extremely hardly, he was determined they should not go unrefuted. He had written to the papers a reply to the Rev. Leslie, and had stated that so confident was the com -pany that the terms they offered were fair, reasonable, and proper with regard to the wages of the workmen, that he was prepared to ask Mr. Burt, M.P., the colliers´ own man to go down and examine the company´s books, examine the coal, to hear what the men had to say, and to give his opinion as to whether the wages they were offering were fair and reasonable. That was the position of affairs, so determined was he from a perfect knowledge of the value that they were offering fair prices, and extremely fair prices, especially as their coal was worked regularly. He considered that even although Mr. Burt was a colliers´ man he was a man of integrity and therefore he had not the slightest hesitation in asking to come down to look into the matter and make his own report.
Mr. Cooper said he understood Mr. Pope had published in the papers that he would give the men 7s. 6d. and guarantee them that money. If he would guarantee their own men that money they would work.
Mr. Pope pointed out that he only said they could earn it. He had told them exactly what he was telling them, that he was prepared to ask Mr. Burt to come down and make an inquiry as to the wages earned, the quality of coal obtained and everything else. Mr. Burt was a practical man and would be able to make an inspection of the pit. From what he had heard of Mr. Burt, he was prepared to have the matter thoroughly gone into. He would have no more false statements made by Congregational Ministers – he would have the colliers´ man himself to look at the matter. The men had offered o work at 5s. 6d. per day, and he was prepared to give them those wages.
Mr. Dixon : You will guarantee 5s. 6d. per day all round ?
Mr. Pope : Not the boys, and that sort of people – but the colliers. He had no dispute with anyone else. He would give the colliers 5s. 6d. per day for as many as they could find work for. Of course they would not be expected to lie down in the pit for that sum. Those were the terms he proposed. He was going to call Mr. Burt and ask him to make a report on the wages. The men had made a proposition ; and he had accepted it.
Mr. Cooper asked if it had been published, and Mr. Pope said it had been published by the Rev. Leslie and Mr. Hatton.
Mr. Dixon ; 5s. 6d. to 6s., is it not ?
Mr. Chambers ; No – 5s. 6d.
Mr. Pope said he would give the men one more chance, and if there were nonsense about the matter he would most assuredly introduce foreign or English labour in such quantities as would settle the question. It was either that or putting the pit down. ; they might take it from him. As a rule he generally meant what he said, and they might take that for granted.
Mr. Dixon asked if there were no other course.
Mr. Pope said he was paying more than was the case at neighbouring collieries. Was he willing to take the average of ten or a dozen collieries in the neighbourhood ?
Mr. Pope said that was utterly impossible ; there was a different arrangement at every colliery in the district. Some collieries had certain things included – other collieries not. Some `hurry´ eighty yards from the pass-by. He had in figures exactly the price men had earned, and the quantity that each of the stalls had produced. He also had the number of men employed, and the amount of wages earned. There was quite evidence enough for him to place before Mr. Burt, and on those grounds he proposed to have Mr. Burt´s opinion, publicly stated. They knew what the prices at other collieries were – they had them cut and dried. If they were to compare the Denaby Main colliery with others they would find that they would not make much out of that part of the business.
A Miner said most of the Yorkshire collieries worked `on the bord´ and Mr. Pope replied that they had got the prices where they `worked on end´.
Mr. Burt could come down and see the coal worked.
As many men as they could employ could go to work at 5s. 6d. per day and that would be all in the papers this ( Saturday ) morning. If there were any further delays he had told them what to expect. It was no use asking for the impossible. The thing could not go on. However obstinate they were, they would find circumstances were a great deal too strong for them.
Mr. Cooper said the tramming prices were not connected with what Mr. Pope had made his remarks upon.
Mr. Pope said he was not going to enter into the details then ; when the time came for that question they would have things all arranged.
Mr. Cooper : then the prices of the tonnage have nothing to do with the tramming ?
Mr. Pope remarked that it was wasting time to discuss those matters. At the proper time all those questions would be fully gone into. The company had got the evidence.
Mr. Cooper said all they could do was to try to get the prices as well. If Mr. Pope was paying more than the neighbouring collieries the thing would be looked into.
Mr. Pope said he was gong to refer the question as to whether the prices offered by the company were fair and reasonable, considering the state of trade at that time and the present value of colliers´ wages. At their colliery they knew how much coal came out of the stalls, and it was very easy to calculate what the earnings would be.
Mr. Cooper stated that Mr. Pope had published in the papers a statement to the effect that the company were paying 30% more than neighbouring collieries.
Mr. Pope said he had the Unions´ authority for that. The Union authorities gave the average wages of the men at 4s. 10d. per, and these were nearly 30% less ; he was within the mark.
A Miner said Mr. Pope would have to take the tonnage.
Mr. Pope remarked that he would take the tonnage, worked out on the quantities that they had been accustomed to getting out from the stalls. So many tons at a certain price would give a certain rate of wages which would be more than the average price of the district. He was talking about the wages earned by the men.
Mr. Cooper remarked that he was talking about tonnage.
Mr. Pope said the quantity of coal, owing to the circumstances at Denaby Main, the ease with which the coal was worked, the large quantities, and the facilities for obtaining it, at the prices they were offering would come to so much per day. If they did not like those wages they must do without them.
Mr. Cooper said there was not much ease at Denaby Main.
Mr. Pope remarked that the situation had altered very much for the worse since the deputation had waited upon him before.
Mr. Dixon asked in the event of Mr. Pope´s intending to have the hand-picked system at Denaby Main, and the men resuming work at 5s. 6d. per day would he be willing to put the question of the dispute to arbitration ?
Mr. Pope pointed out that he was going to ask Mr. Burt to come down and make his statement and give his opinion as to whether the rate of wages was fair and reasonable. He wished to have Mr. Burt´s opinion first of all.
A Miner asked if Mr. Pope would allow Mr. Burt to act as arbitrator ?
Mr. Pope remarked that he could not allow anyone to act as arbitrator. Supposing Mr. Burt were to make a mistake and say, ” That is the price,” he could not pledge himself to go on working at a loss. He wanted Mr. Burt´s opinion, and he thought if Mr. Burt´s opinion was good enough for the company it should be good enough for the men. It would never do to put the company in a position to refer whether they should be ruined or not to any person in the world – that would only ruin masters and men. No one could refer the question as to whether he was to pay more than the coal sold for. It would be of no use to throw away the money he had. That was all he had to say, and he could make no more of it. Markets, as he had told them, were going from bad to worse, and he really did
not know what was going to happen, as things were in such a curious state. He quite thought, when Mr. Chambers made the first suggestion, that the men, considering the wages they were earning and the times, would have helped them at once They had been at the expense of a twenty weeks´ strike, and things were entirely altered. All that time trade had been falling.
One of the deputation said they were willing to go by the district.
Mr. Pope remarked that the district varied. Every colliery had different prices from other collieries. Sometimes the price included one thing and sometimes another and how could they find out what the district price was ?
A Miner considered the fairest way would be to try it.
Mr. Pope asked how that could be done. Besides what did his questioner mean ?
The Miner said he referred to the hand-picking system.
Mr. Pope asked what wages they wanted, and Miner said a fair day´s wage for a fair day´s work
Mr. Pope said that was all nonsense, and meant anything or nothing. It was a very old stop phrase. A fair day´s wage varied according to the times. When the times were good the men thought a fair day´s wage was about £1 per day, and there had been times when it was 2s. to 2s. 6d. Those matters varied very much, and the old phrase ” a fair day´s wage for a fair day´s work ” varied very much.
Mr. Cooper said if Mr. Chambers, Mr. Pope, and the directors had put aside four stalls in each district, and had had the new system properly tested, they would have formed an idea of its working.
Mr. Pope remarked that the men wanted to get as much wages as they had before, and that would not pay the company. They could no more pay those wages than they could fly.
Mr. Cooer said they could not see that they would have had the same wages unless they had tried it.
Mr. Pope pointed out that it was very easy to make a little more or a little less.
A Miner said there would have been someone there to watch the company´s interests.
Mr. Pope thought that was all ” very fine.”
A Miner said when the hand-picking was in force there was about six inches of `muck holing´ in the bottom. That was how the biggest `weight´ of the hand-picking system was done ; all the waste was put into the `gob´.
Mr. Chambers asked how much work at Denaby Main was done for nothing ?
A Miner remarked that a man could `hole´ three times as much at other pits he had worked at as at Denaby Main.
Mr. Pope said that only showed how very difficult it was to draw analogies between one place and another. He wished the men to make as good or better wages at Denaby Main than anywhere else. He was not an advocate for paying men very low prices. He wanted them to be able to earn as much money at Denaby Main as anywhere else, and wanted to give them six day´s work a week.
If they were only working three days a week they would say,” It´s all very fine ; we can earn large wages, but we play three days a week.”
He then referred to the stacking of coal at the colliery, and a Miner said they would have been better off playing than having the coal stacked.
Mr. Pope said most workingmen in England were only too glad to get any regular work.
Mr. Cooper considered that the men have given two 5% reductions to the
company, and that just brought them at that moment to 10% lower than the price at many neighbouring collieries.
Mr. Pope said that was an old argument, and it was of no use to talk on these matters.
Mr. Cooper pointed out that the men would have the price lists drawn up and shown to the public.
Mr. Pope said if Mr. Burt came down they could say what they pleased to him. He would see they way in which the coal was worked, and all about it, he was a practical man.
Mr. Cooper hoped Mr. Pope would allow some of the men to go down the pit with Mr. Burt.
Mr. Pope said he was willing to allow that. He did not quite follow Mr. Cooper.
Mr. Dixon : He means will you allow two or three of the late workmen.
Mr. Pope thought one workman and Mr. Chambers might go with Mr. Burt. They could not have a great crowd. Mr. Burt should go all around the place, if he thought fit. He did not know whether Mr. Burt would agree with the proposal, but if he did he could make an exhaustive report – see all the books as to the wages, and everything which had been done. He ( Mr. Pope ) would publish the report in every paper in the district.
In the meantime, as he had told them before, the men could go to work. He did not think he had anything more to say.
A Miner said he was afraid the greatest difficulty would be in the way of persuading the men to break into the starting pieces. It had always been the rule to adhere to the district price.
Mr. Pope said if they were going to talk about rules they must live on rules, not on company money. He had told them the terms – they must take them or leave them. If they could live on rules, well and good, if not they had better earn some money.
A Miner : We want some bread and beef as well as rules.
Mr. Pope said that was rather difficult to procure nowadays. They must not take that from him as being said in any unkind spirit. It was simply a matter of business. He always liked men to earn as much as they could, and he liked them to earn good wages. It was, however, quite impossible to work a colliery when the coal did not produce as much money as it cost to bring it out of the pit. If the company gave way they might work for a short time and then stop, and the whole thing was in Chancery, and they would have to look out for an odd day here and there. They were talking to a man who had got no more power than themselves. He dared say they thought he had a kind of un-limited bank. It was a common idea that a master had a mine of wealth and that if they could only persuade, browbeat, or coerce him to give so much, it was all clear gain to the miner. He had explained what had been the result of the dispute in the district. Every district around had undersold them, and left them high and dry. He had never known such a state of things before. He had always accustomed, when there had been a strike, to see not only one or two pits working very busily, but prices go up 2s. 6d. to 3s. per ton, and heaps of coal coming from other districts.
A few years ago there was a strike in Lancashire, and the Lancashire people wrote to them for coal. They sent special train after special train as hard as ever they could put them in, and obtained 3s. per ton more than their usual price during the time the strike lasted. Now instead of helping any districts at all around them, instead of making them busy in any way, the prices of coal on the London coal exchange a fortnight after the strike commenced fell 2s. 6d. per ton. Those collieries too, which were working, were only giving the workmen employment three days a week, although they had got the whole trade to divide amongst them. As reasonable men, they could not get over that. Those were facts which beat everything which had occurred within his experience.
A Miner remarked that coal would soon be very cheap in the district, if it were the case that the longer the strike went on the cheaper the coal would be.
Mr. Pope said he could not explain it any more than they could. Wharncliffe Silkstone colliery was stacking, and Hoyland Silkstone was working three days a week. What was to become of them when they went to work ?
If two or three collieries in the district could only make three days a week when they had got the whole trade to themselves, what would have been the case if they were working ?
A Miner said it was different coal which was being worked at the collieries he had named to that which was obtained Denaby Main.
Mr. Pope said they hundreds of wagons of `nuts´ put by, which they seemed to say was simply a drug. He was afraid both the men and the company had very hard times before them.
A Mine : We have.
Mr. Pope said the men up to the present had had the best of it by a long way.
Mr. Cooper remarked that the public had had the worst of it. They had to pay from 2s. to 3s. per ton extra since the commencement of that strike.
Mr. Pope said that was nonsense. Did they suppose that Hoyland Silkstone would work three days a week only if they could get 3s. per ton more. Was it likely ?
A Miner : It was a fact they were getting it.
Mr. Pope said it was not. They would see the prices in the London papers. They fell 1s. 6d. on Monday and 1s. the next since the strike had been on.
Mr. Cooper referred to Thrybergh Hall and Wath Main, at Rotherham the price of coal rose 1s. 6d. per ton last week.
Mr. Pope said at Rotherham, but a very small part of the output of the district was used. They had to compete with the North of England, Leicestershire, Derby -shire and other places. The moment they competed with those districts where the men were working they either lost money or were left high and dry.
A Miner said there ought to be no underselling.
Mr. Pope said the men bought their corn, flour, tea, and sugar for a mere nothing, but they did not say there should be no underselling there. But there was just as much underselling there as anywhere else. They would all, he believed, like to be buying cheap and selling dear, but it could not be done. Coal was falling just like iron, flour and every other commodity.
A Miner asked if Mr. Pope thought because they could get bread, tea and sugar cheap that they were likely to work for a smaller wage and lose 2s. per day.
Mr. Pope said he did not know what they were likely to do, or what they would like to do. They would have to work considerably cheaper, and, mark his word, before many years were over the wages they were receiving would look very high.
A Miner : We have come down.
Mr. Pope contended that that was the case. There were people in other districts who were not even making 10s. or 11s. per week – colliers too.
A Miner said there ought to be cheap bread and tea in that case. There was precious little beef attached to it.
Mr. Pope remarked that that was a law of nature.
A Miner said if a man did not get much to eat he could not get much coal.
Mr. Pope pointed out that that state of things existed everywhere, and that they must not hold him responsible, as he could not alter it. He would if he could. Coal had fallen since he bought that colliery about 12s. per ton.
A Miner : There was some profit on this colliery.
Mr. Pope said if they had those days they would not have been wrangling about prices. He went on as long as he could until he found out that people would not have their coal at the prices they were asking. He wrote them a letter while he was abroad, and thought they appreciated the state of affairs. He advised them to think the matter over. He had nothing more to add.
A Miner said they were willing to work the same as their neighbours, and he did not think they could go any lower.
Mr. Dixon asked Mr. Pope what was really the price he offered ?
Mr. Pope said 5s. 6d. per day.
Mr. Dixon asked if that included the fillers and datallers.
Mr. Pope : No. The company were not quarrelling with the loaders and datallers.
It had been in the papers that the colliers were prepared to accept 5s. 6d. per day. The company were prepared to give them work at 5s. 6d. per day. He asked them not to make any mistake.
A Miner : We mean all round.
Mr. Pope asked them not to misunderstand him.
A Miner said it would be Mr. Pope who would make the mistake about 5s. 6d. per day.
Mr. Pope : I shall ?
A Miner : I am afraid you will.
Mr. Pope said if the company were prepared to be extremely liberal that was their lookout. The Rev. Leslie said the men were only making 3s. and there was 5s. 6d. for them.
A Miner asked if they were the only terms, and Mr. Pope answered in the affirmative.
A Miner said Mr. Pope had no price for the datallers.
Mr. Pope said datallers prices were well-known in the district. Did the datallers ever get the same price as the colliers ?
A Miner : At some places.
Mr. Pope said they could either take the terms or leave them, but they must not put reports in the papers and blow hot and cold.
Mr. Dixon : We will take it for granted that the datallers can resume work on the same terms they had when they stopped.
Mr. Pope said the prices the men would work at were 1s. 3d. and 6d. There was no question with the datallers..
A Miner said it was no use the deputation discussing those terms. It got worse every day.
Mr. Pope remarked that they would make no 10% reduction on the 1s. 3d.
A Miner said they could not earn 2s. per day at those prices.
Mr. Pope said they were offering 5s. 6d. per day.
A Miner said the Denaby Main prices were lower than those in the district.
Mr. Pope said they might say ” black ” and he might say ” white ” until tomorrow morning – that was no argument. He was going to ask Mr. Burt´s opinion on the question of prices.
A Miner asked if he would agree to accept the opinion ?
Mr. Pope said he would not. He was asking Mr. Burt to give an opinion, and in the meantime he was offering 5s. 6d. per day. The fillers would be paid 6d. per ton, with 5% on, which would be liable to the 10% reduction if it came off in the district. The price was 6d before. The company only wanted the men to put the big lumps in with their hands.
A Miner : They put small in with the lumps now.
Mr. Pope : They must put big lumps in with their hands.
In answer to a question as to how many men he would want, Mr. Pope said the places were pretty well `bunged up´, as they had been on strike for twenty weeks and they would have to be got ready.
A Miner thought the `new chaps´ would shift something, and another member of the deputation said they would shift more beef than anything else.
Mr. Pope said he knew the average wages of the men. All the figure were in the books, and could be very easily got at. They would find it all there when the time came. He had accounted for the men out of work in the `Montagu dips´.
A Miner said some stalls turned sometimes twenty-three shifts in a week.
Mr. Chambers remarked when they did it was all put down.
A Miner said he had been taken from five places where they had been `running red mad´ to get he stuff out.
Mr. Pope said when Mr. Burt came down he would not take five stalls.
A Miner remarked that it would of no use for Mr. Burt to come if the company would not bind themselves to agree to his decision.
Mr. Pope said he was going to ask Mr. Burt´s opinion, and in the meantime he was offering 5s. 6d. per day.
Mr. Dixon asked in the event of the men´s agreeing to resume work at 5s. 6d. per day and Mr. Burt´s coming down and making an examination would what he said be binding on both sides ?
Mr. Pope said he could not say that as he might make a mistake with the best of intention, and he could not bind the company to go on working at a loss. His opinion would be something to go by. Up to the time of Mr. Burt´s reply they would go on working at 5s. 6d.
Mr. Dixon : But if he won´t come.
Mr. Pope : I think it most probable that he will come.
Mr. Dixon asked if Mr. Pope would appoint one man and the men another and also appoint an umpire.
Mr. Pope thought the best plan would be to ask the greatest man among them to give his opinion. He was going to appeal to a man known all over England.
Mr. Cooper : We´ll abide by his decision.
Mr. Pope said they would see a letter in the paper this morning.
A Miner said there had been too many letters in the papers, and Mr. Pope agreed with him, but if they got Congregational Ministers to write about the Company, and everyone they could get hold of in the district besides, they must expect to see a lot of letters in the paper.
Regret was expressed by a miner that the question in dispute had not been tried at the commencement.
Mr. Pope asked they had calculated how much money they had lost during the twenty weeks´ strike. They would find out in the long run that they had made a mistake. They had done as much as they possibly could to destroy the trade connection of the colliery and the district colliers were doing the same thing. What little trade there was, was going to other places.
A Miner asked if theirs had been a district question it would possibly have been at an end long since.
One of the deputation said he believed they would all be willing to work at the price offered.
Another Miner said the fillers would consider it to be a reduction. They would not be able to fill as much stuff by hand-picking.
Mr. Pope : We will settle the matter when they go to work.
A Miner : It is getting them to come.
Mr. Pope : Then they may stop away. We can get five hundred fillers, and if they don´t like it they can stop away.
A Miner said that was where the mischief had arisen respecting plenty of fillers. There had been men filling who had not known a lump of hard from a lump of soft.
A Miner : When shall we be able to let you know respecting the 5s. 6d.?
Mr. Pope : Anyone who likes can come.
A Miner : It is a certainty we shall accept it.
Mr. Pope : Anyone who likes can come and ask for work.
The meeting then terminated, questions on minor matters of detail being answered by the manager.