Dispute – Third Meeting of the Men

21 January 1881

Mexborough and Swinton Times, January 21

The Third Meeting.

According to the resolution passed at the meeting in the morning, Mr Chapel and the deputation waited upon Mr Warburton, the manager of the colliery, and at a crowded meeting in the evening they stated the result of the interview.

Mr Chapel stated at length the views thrown out pro and con, as to the taking away of the “packing” from the men, and he said. Mr Warburton, ultimately agreed to make a little alteration with regard to it to what he had formally stated, he having been shown that it would make a decided reduction in the wages of the men.

He was willing to take a man out from the “stall” and to allow the money, earned to be divided among the men working therein less part of the amount made by the “packing” which he stated would be an arrangement to the advantage of the men.

(Several voices called out that it would be a disadvantage).

Well, he (Mr Chappell) thought this was a question to be settled on the basis of an average.

A Voice: but we are fully discuss that question and it won’t do. We cannot live at Denaby without the “packing”

Mr Chappell observed that on the second occasion that they saw the manager he agreed to take only “gate packs,” saying he would allow the ” gob packs” or waste packs to remain in their charge. That certainly reduced the difficulty, but not to an extent which would meet their views. That day he had made another offer, as he had stated.

A Voice: But it won’t do. We can’t agree to it.

Mr Chappell said the Denaby delegate, who attended the Council Meeting of the previous day told the other delegates that the manager of the Colliery proposed to take this “packing,” but would not agree to take out the men whose wages have been paid from the money paid for the “packing”. Also that Mr Warburton held it as his right to consider whether, in his opinion as many additional coals could not be sent out of the working place, to make up for the deficiency of the loss of the “packing.” That was how matters were placed before the Council. It being stated that it was impossible to get them into the mine to resume work, on account of the loss of this “packing,” and without an understanding that a man was going to be taken out of the “place,” the Council fully agreed with the Delegate that, if Mr Warburton persists in not agreeing to take out a man, and he took the “packing,” then they were to be supported, inasmuch, as the Council, held it to be a reduction.

That day, after discussing the matter for an hour and a half, they showed by pinups that the proposition may, by the management could not prove otherwise than to be a reduction. They took a pay no from a bundle of others, and on that note there were 15s 2d for “waste packs” and 15s 2d for “gate packs.” They said, “you cannot dispute. Mr Warburton, that the loss of this “fact,” means nothing else but a loss of 15s 2d.”

He replied, “I admit that.” They press the question. On the instance shown, but he did not apparently like to yield to that, simply because he had a conviction that an additional tonnage could be sent out of the place to make up for the deficiency. He told Mr Warburton that he thought his conviction was based more upon what he would like than upon actual fact. (Hear, hear). They press the question again about a man being taken out, and ultimately yielded. He told him it was an important matter, and the men wanted a fair understanding on the question.

He said to the manager, “You have Mr Slack and the officials going round the colliery every day, and they will be able to report to you.” “Oh,” he says, “But I have a report here,” and he got down a pair of “clams,” which clasped a lot of notes together.

“This,” he said, “is the report I get every day, with the quantities sent, and with every “stall” singly.” He (Mr Chappell) replied that as that was so he could see whether the men were doing their duty. The manager answered that he could, and added: “There is a stall here (pointing one out) where 10 tons are sent in one day, but, I find, in three days that only 16, are sent. Now you must admit with me that there must be something wrong somewhere.”

He (Mr Chappell) said they were bound to admit that there was. The manager then said he would agree to what they had suggested, but if Mr Slack reported to him that a certain “stall” was not doing the work that it ought, he should insist upon another man be put there, in order that the “stall” might produces as much coal as it ought to do.

A Voice “Good night,” and another, “That’ll not do.”

Mr Chappell reply they must not have a lots of imaginary difficulties. They would never prove that. Mr Warburton, would not carry out what he promised unless they tried him.

A Voice: We have tried him enough already.

Mr Warburton said the plan he suggested, would put the “stall” he referred to in a better position.

A Miner: Nothing of the sort.

He (Mr Chappell) should state that a serious statement had been made by Mr Warburton, and it was that he had had a system of bribery going on, and he was determined that he would put a stop to it except doing as he proposed. Mr Chappell score at considerable length and a very lively scene followed.

One minor at another protested that the 5% would have to be returned to them before they return, as well as the “packing.” Without the “packing” one of them said, they could not subsist, whilst another observed, as they had given the 5% to the colliery company to assist them in fighting the railway company, the ought to have it back again now, especially as the colliery company had won the day.