Dispute – May 8th – Question in the Commons

May 1885

The Denaby Main Evictions
Question in the Commons

In the House of Commons on Friday, Mr. Broadhurst, on behalf of Mr. Burt, asked the Home Secretary if his attention had been called to the eviction of a large number of miners and their families from their houses at Denaby Main colliery ; whether he is aware that when a workman obtains employment at the colliery named he is compelled to live in a house belonging to the company, provided that the company have a house unoccupied, even though the workmen may be able to obtain a better and cheaper house elsewhere ; whether he is aware that the workmen are forced to sign an agreement to allow the rent to be deducted from their wages ; and whether, if the facts be as stated, he is prepared to deal with the subject by fresh legislation, so as to prevent an infringement of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Truck Act ?

Sir W. Harcourt asked the hon. gentleman to postpone the question until Monday, and Mr. Broadhurst expressed his willingness to do so.

On Monday Mr. Broadhurst repeated the question.

Sir William Harcourt said he had received a report from the inspector of the district, who said that all the workmen might when engaged of their own option live in the houses belonging to he company, or in others, if they wished.

It did not seem that any pressure had been brought to bear on the men to induce them to occupy the houses of the colliery company.

It seemed to be a condition, if they did exercise the option of occupying houses, for convenience to them the rent was deducted from their wages.

Under the circumstances he did not consider that that involved any infringement of the Truck Act.