Dispute – July 31st – Pit slowly returning to Normal

July 1885

The Denaby Main Dispute

We are pleased to note that affairs at he colliery are assuming a brighter prospect for the men, and the general public are crediting them with using every effort to obtain re-employment.

On Friday twenty six of the old hands were sent for, and rumours were circulated which afterwards turned out to be true, that the company would send for more when room was found for them. Up to this week about five hundred hands were working at the colliery, but that number is sill far short of original number of men employed, which was about one thousand two hundred.

On Thursday last week 150 tons of coal was the output, and on Friday the quantity was increased to 170 or 180 tons, but the supply was unequal to the demand, and the output is disproportionately low compared with the number of hands employed.

On Friday an accident occurred in the pit, whereby two of the new workmen were seriously injured. From some cause unknown a quantity of coal fell upon them and knocked them to the ground. When they were extricated it was found that one of the men had both legs broken in addition to severe bruising, while the other´s back was seriously crushed. The accident took place at ten o´clock in the morning, bit it is stated that fully three hours elapsed before the injured men were conveyed to the pit bottom. It was found necessary to send them at once to Doncaster Infirmary, where they still remain.

Only one half of the new workmen employed at Denaby Main are engaged in getting coal, the others clearing the accumulation of rubbish preparatory to getting coal. The old Denaby Main hands said they were not in the least surprised at the accident which occurred on Friday, and that it was only likely to occur with inexperienced hands.

Things were very quiet on Sunday, with the exception of two rows between some of the old hands and the ` black-sheep.´

On one occasion three strangers crossed the river from the colliery premises and challenged to fight. This offer was closed with, with the result that one of the challengers got severely handled.

Joseph Hutchinson ( shooting incident ), whose assailant is being tried to-day at Leeds, has recovered sufficiently to walk about.

On Tuesday a laughable incident took place in connection with an understanding between the Staffordshire men and the company. The latter offered to keep the men for 10s. per week, including board and lodgings, and tobacco and beer. In consequence, it is said, of the prevalence of insobriety, the company decided to stop the tobacco and beer, which innovation was not at all acceptable to the new hands. They struck against it and refused to go to work. One of the men wrote on a colliery wagon, ” They´ve stopped our `bacca´ and beer , and they´ll get no ——- work done here.” The coveted articles were eventually given to the men.

Interest has been excited by the offer of Mr. Chambers to give the Rev. T.J. Leslie £100 if he can produce the letter wherein terms of 5s. 6d. per day were withdrawn unconditionally. The men´s version is that they had agreed to accept the 5s. 6d. per day, and intended to signify the same to the company the next morning, but before they could do so a messenger arrived with a letter from the company, the terms of which were understood by the men to mean a withdrawal of their previous offer, and a recurrence to the terms of 1s. 4 ½ d. per ton for large and 6 ½ d. per ton for small coal.

On Monday Mr. Chambers sent for forty-four of the old Denaby Main hands, and on Tuesday twelve more were sent for, and so it seems that Mr. Chambers is prepared to follow out his promise to find room for the men when work can be found.