Lightning Strike – Trouble at Denaby Main – A Dole Grievance.

July 1935

Mexborough & Swinton Times, July 12 1935

Lightning Strike.
Trouble at Denaby Main.
A Dole Grievance.

A ‘lightning,’ and therefore unofficial strike was declared at Denaby Main colliery on Sunday evening. At the time only 90 men who should have gone down the pit on the night shift were affected, but the morning and afternoon shift also failed to work on Monday, and this meant the whole of the 2,000 employees were involves.

Yesterday the position was unchanged. The pit was still completely idle, only officials and safety men being on duty. The ‘Times’ was informed by a representative of the men that he did not think there would be another meeting of the men before the week-end, probably on Saturday.

The dispute has risen upon a question of unemployment benefit. It is understood that on two days last week the pit ‘played,’ and the men claim that instead of the management informing the Mexborough Labour Exchange authorities that there was no work available for the men the management marked the men ‘absent from work.’ This means that the men will be prevented from obtaining ‘dole’ in respect of the days in question.

It has been stated that only 16 men are affected by this alleged action, but on the men’s side it is held, that the number is considerably larger.

Officials of the Denaby Main branch of the Y.M. A. approached the management on the question on Friday, but were unable to obtain a decision satisfactory to themselves and the men, and at a meeting of the branch at Denaby the following day it was decided on a majority vote to call a strike on the Sunday evening.

This decision was duly carried out, and, with the strike in progress, the next move occurred on Monday evening when mass meeting on the strikers were held at the Reresby Arms, Denaby, and the Mason’s Arms, Mexborough. Both meetings, which lasted about an hour, were extremely well attended, as many Union members as could crowd into the rooms being present.

Opportunity, it is understood, was taken to raise several grievances over the general position of unemployment benefit in so far as they concerned the management, and it was unanimously resolved that there should be no resumption of work until the management were prepared to meet their representatives to discuss the various points at issue.

It had been intimated to the men that the management would not enter into any discussion whatever until the strikes had returned to work, and this position of deadlock having arisen there the matter remains at the moment. On Tuesday a colliery official stated that the next move must come from the men.

A men’s representative told a ‘Times’ reporter that the trouble had been brewing for some months.

As the strike was called without the sanction and authority of the Y.M.A. executive or headquarters staff the men will be precluded from obtaining union strike pay. During the year considerable progress has attended a branch ‘drive’ for increased union membership and the pit is now a fairly strong union colliery.’

The surface workers attended at the pit on Monday to carry out their normal work, but had to be sent home.

Meetings of the men have been fixed for Saturday morning, at the Reresby Arms, Denaby at 10 and at the New Mason’s Arms, Mexborough, at 11.