Mexborough & Swinton Times November 12, 1926
A Conisborough Meeting
The Denaby Terms
Mr Williams addressed a large meeting organised by the Conisborough Labour Party in the large hall of the Station Hotel on Sunday. Commenting on the explanation of the local colleries’ offer he stated that their barrier to success was the men who had resumed work and thus prevented a hundred percent settlement. Referring to the issues he stated that their dispute had proved that there was one law for the coal owners and another for the workers. Here a voice interjected, “none.”
Colliery proprietors and great politicians had stated that if the leaders would face the facts the dispute would be settled. The only economic fact the miner could afford to face was how much it would cost to keep his wife and family and live decently. Profits and losses at the pits were not his concern, as he was not responsible for the efficiency or inefficiency of the pits. He was divorced from any managerial position so why should anybody turn and say that miners were responsible for them losing money, the colliery companies could, and did, make a profit of a loss as they wanted.
There was once a Labour government for seven minutes under increased wages 13 1/3%. Then the Russian bogey came and there was another 1921 grand slam. Lord Justice Sankey had said that seven hours and 250,000,000 tonnes entitled the miners to a six-hour day but before they had a chance to ask for it the demand came for an eight-hour day. A longer day producing more coal would necessitate underselling foreign competition and would put more men out of work. It was a national disaster to accept longer hours. It was ethically and economically unsound.
He hoped that even now in the 27th week men would not dash back to work because some kindly disposed people had explained terms. Why did they not say that there would be no percentage reductions until 1928. They did not know what would happen. They had stood 27 weeks for their legitimate rights and national unity and they were entitled to stand another week to retain that unity. District settlements were futile, they involved migration when district strikes came along. He thought that royalties, way leaves, merchants, profits, etc., should be done away with, they sapped the industry.
Do you think that with a Labour government in power this would have lasted 27 weeks he said, “the pits would not have been closed 27 days”. It was a tragic comment to on our super civilisation, allowing collieries to go to ruin and millions of persons to starvation. The government could pass an act and take over the pits, they could even do this under section 14 of the E. P. A.
Individuals were entitled to think that the miners were wrong, but it was wrong for police, magistrates or others in like positions to try to draw men away from their colleagues. Outsiders did not quite understand what the consequences would be to deserters who played the part of Judas.
“Stand where you are for the next few days and I firmly hope and believe that a settlement will be reached” he said. There were good relationships between them and their officials at the beginning and if they when back as a body he hoped that the same splendid feeling would exist until that government came which would bring Nationalisation.