Denaby Dispute – Meeting of Men

March 1877

Sheffield Telegraph, March 16 th

The Denaby Main Dispute.

Meeting of the men at Mexborough.

A meeting composed of nearly the whole of the men employed at the Denaby Main Colliery. Previous to the notices been issued, was held at Mr B. Musgrove’s, Mexbro┬┤ yesterday morning.

Mr Chappell, agent to the South Yorkshire Miners Association, was present, and was called upon to address the meeting. He commenced by saying that when he saw the reports in the newspapers. He was very much surprised to learn that the dispute was not settled, or that the men had not returned to work on the strength of the agreement arrived at on Saturday last. The reason why they were not at work, however, was not because of any indisposition on the men’s part to resume work at the terms which were stipulated for at the interview; but the cause lay in the fact of Mr Parker, having departed from the covenant, which form the basis for re-engagement on Monday, the 12 instant.

Was it not a fact that, after the men had signed, and all expected to go to work, a paper was posted up at the colliery, announcing that the places of Nos. 19, 7, 4, 13, 16, 14, 3, 39, 17, 21, 32 and 22 were all going to be set down – (hear, hear) – and further, that those numbers embrace some of the most valuable men ever employed by the Denaby Main Company?

But, it so happened that they were men who were generally gone on deputations and who took a leading part in the Association, though better, more sensible, and reasonable men never worked for a firm. He (Mr Chappell) maintained that Mr Parker could not have made a selection of these men, because they were men who were always showing signs of dissatisfaction and trying to breed disturbances at the colliery – (hear, hear) – But on the contrary, they were men whohad striven for peace, and had always battled for its maintenance.

Whatever disturbances there had been during the last two years were every one of them traceable to the changes which Mr Parker had sought to introduce. (Hear, hear). But the most striking feature about the numbers posted up. It was this, that some of the places, or banks, represented by them was so situated that they could not stand if others are adjacent to them were to be worked, whilst others of them were compelled to be work to improve the ventilation. (Hear, hear.)

With these truths before them, they were forced into the conclusion that the manager’s intention was, if possible, to single out a number of men who did not stand so high in his estimation asthey formerly did. Mr Parker thought that when all had signed there would be a general rush to commence work, and that when a part had done so you might venture to close the door against if you on whom he was desirous of pouring out his wrath; but this was done to hastily, for a slam of the door was heard before a sufficient number of them had got inside of the house. (Hear, hear.)

The matter had become so patent to the Association that there remain nothing for them to do but to furnish the men with support until proper terms were given and abided by, and this they should do. (Hear, hear, and cheers).

In conclusion, he hoped they would keep orderly, let any man alone who my shoes did differ from them; let all the means they used for the purpose of bringing all the men over to their side be only those allowed by the law of the land. (Cheers.)

A vote of thanks brought the meeting to a close. The next meeting is to be held this (Friday) morning.

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