July 3 rd 1885.
The Denaby Main Dispute
New Terms Offered By The Men
Mr. Pickard´s Opinion On The Crisis.
A crowded meeting of Denaby Main miners was held on Tuesday morning at the lodge-room, the Mason´s Arms, Mexborough. Mr. Peter Hatton occupied the chair, and commenced by referring to a paragraph which appeared in a con -temporary newspaper, concerning some business which had been conducted in committee. For some time there was an outcry against the admission of reporters to the meetings, but eventually it was decided that representatives of the Press be allowed to remain.
The Secretary stated that last Friday he was sent for to Barnsley, and went by the noon train. When he got there Mr. Pickard wished to know how they were getting on, and he then stated that he had seen a report in the newspapers to the effect that a fresh arrival of workmen had come from Staffordshire, and on that point also Mr. Pickard wished for information.
Mr. Pickard thought the men had carried the struggle as far as they possibly could.
He informed Mr. Pickard that they had carried it on in the tents on a mere pittance per week – 3s., 2s. 6d., and even 1s. 6d. – and that only the day before they gave the men 2s. each, and had to borrow £20 to pay that with. He also told Mr. Pickard that they would not go on at that rate unless the district did something for them.
Mr. Pickard said he did not know what to do, and he ( the secretary ) said it was useless for him to return without any money, and that they must have the £20 they had borrowed at least. Mr. Pickard said he was afraid they would not get any. Shortly afterwards a telegram arrived asking Mr. Pickard to go out to Dodworth. The secretary then went to Mr. Frith and told him the same thing that he had told Mr. Pickard. Mr. Frith said the Council should have done some -thing for them, and further, that a levy of 3d. had been put on in the district. That however, would not realise £40, and would have to be divided amongst Church Lane, Fryston, Pilley, and a few miners at Aldwarke, in addition to those at Denaby Main. Their share would amount to literally nothing. One of the auditors had said the Denaby Main men had not been recognised as members of the Yorkshire Miners´ Association. In the end he brought £25 away, and he believed had brought nearly all the money away they had, as one half-sovereign was almost valueless. Mr. Pickard drew the suggestions on which he was about to place before the meeting for their approval .
The Chairman remarked that it was useless sending representatives to Barnsley while there were such `goings on´ with some of the Denaby Main men. Some representations had been made at Barnsley that the Denaby Main miners were getting what the could from Barnsley and were going to leave them afterwards.
The Secretary referred to the impossibility on the part of the Denaby Main men to pay entrance fees and subscriptions to the Miners´ Association at a time when they were suffering extreme poverty. It was stated that no one had worked harder for the miners on strike than the delegates from Houghton Main, Wath Main, and Kilnhurst.
A Miner said they were not fighting a battle merely for themselves but for the whole district.
The Chairman said it was `all bosh´ for any delegates to say that he knew nothing of the Denaby Main case. ( A Miner : They knew about it when they shouted ” Brave Denaby Main Men,” and promised to support us.)
Another Miner expressed an opinion that nothing had come from Barnsley when they had been on strike before, and nothing would come in the future.
The Secretary was of the opinion that something should have been done for them by the Council. They could not go on at that rate. He was under the imp ression that Mr. Pickard was aware of it.
A Miner said ” Edwards ” a miners´ agent, in Staffordshire blamed Mr. Pickard, and the latter blamed Mr. Edwards, for the Staffordshire men coming to Denaby Main.
Another said there would be money neither from Barnsley or Derbyshire now that some of them were going to Parliament..
Some rather uncomplimentary terms having been used concerning Mr. Pickard, the Secretary read the following suggestions :-
” We, the undersigned representatives of the late workmen and the present managers of Denaby Main colliery agree that the men shall resume work on the following conditions, viz. :
1. That each collier receive per day of eight hours the sum of 5s. 6d.
2. That each collier´s trammer receive per day of eight hours the sum of 4s. 6d.
3. That the employers agree to pay the collier and trammer the respective terms per day in accordance with Nos. 1 and 2. clauses for a period of twelve working weeks.
4. That we agree to fill the coal as desired by the owners of Denaby Main colliery.
5. That all colliers and trammers now playing, resume work at once in similar positions to those which they filled when the colliery stopped.
6. That the quantities and qualities of all coal raised be tabulated and accounted for by the men´s checkweighman for purposes of reference.
7. That within three months of the commencement of work all matters affecting fixed prices be referred to arbitration, and that the decision be arrived at within the said three months.
8. That Mr. Thomas Burt M.P., be the umpire and that his decision be binding upon both parties to this agreement.”
The Chairman said if those terms were decided on they were determined to have no `doggies´ over them. Public sympathy had gone away entirely, because they were doing nothing.
A resolution to the effect that a deputation be appointed to lay the terms mentioned above before the manager was carried unanimously, and a letter was ordered to be sent to the manager, asking for an opportunity of interviewing him on the subject.
The Rev. T.J. Leslie, whose arrival was greeted with applause, took occasion to deny a report which had been circulated to the effect that he intended to discontinue the administering of relief of the Denaby Main miners. He spoke on the need for more relief, and said they had taken a right step that morning. The public thought the men had been standing aloof and refusing 5s. 6d. per day, but they had in reality been refusing 1s. 3d. per ton for hard coal, and 6d. for slack. If Mr. Pope refused to give them 5s. 6d. per day, which he had stated to the world, he would open the eyes of the public. He did not want the men to go to work by ones and twos, but they should go in a body.
He referred to a statement which had been made concerning the giving of drink to the Staffordshire men. The drink they had been given by the Denaby Main men was water. Some of the Staffordshire men were drunk, but they had been made drunk by the company, and not at the expense of the Denaby Main miners. ( Applause )
He stated that the amount received up to the present time for the bread fund was £309 15s. 11d.
Meeting with Mr.Chambers
Later – The messenger who went to Mr. Chambers, the manager of the colliery, with the letter asking for an interview, returned on Tuesday evening and stated that the manager, after reading the missive, threw it on the table, and stated that he would not see a deputation, but that if the men thought fit to sign to go to work on the terms offered by the company they could do so.
The men were very much offended on hearing the messenger´s report. It was stated on Tuesday that one of the colliery officials had expressed a desire to see his old workmen back, and that he had further stated that the colliery would be re-opened on Thursday.
Several men, it is confidently asserted by the officials, have signed to go to work ; and it is reported that miners from some other pits in the district have taken the trouble to sign the company´s books.
The Denaby Main men deny these statements, which they say are made to their prejudice.