Paid Agitators – Managing Director’s Plea for Industrial Comradeship.

October 1919

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Monday 13 October 1919

Paid Agitators.

Denaby Managing Director’s Plea for Industrial Comradeship.

Speaking to about five hundred employees of the Denaby and Cadeby Collieries Co., on Satuvday, when they were publicly welcomed home after their service in His Majesty’s Forces, Mr. W H. Chambers, the managing director of the Company, remarked that paid agitators had done their best during the war to cause trouble between the authorities and the fighting men, and now they were trying hard to sow dissension between employer and employee. He pointed out that the old class of employer —that style which was distinctly mercenary and grasping, and which was naturally disinterested as regards the conditions of the employee, and against whom the men’s federation was origin ally formed—had in most cases been cleared out altogether.

Their places had been taken by men who had gained their present position, after having started the bottom, and who knew what all the conditions actually were in connection with pit work. He himself, said the speaker, had commenced his mining life and experience at the very bottom, and had risen to his present position by stages. And it was so in most cases, and the result was that the managing director, who attained his position in that way, was in greater touch and sympathy with his men than was the case under the old regime.

In view of those things he was somewhat surprised to find that when that big change in the style of management had taken place there was still in existence a great deal of suspicion and antagonism between employer and employee in regard to their work.

Major Pope, the chairman of the company, he said, had served in France and had fought alongside the men who worked at home for him, and the best of comradeship had always existed between them. Why then, asked, should not that same spirit of comradeship exist in their industrial relationship? The position of both would considerably strengthened by that bond of trust and comradeship. (Applause.)

The welcome which was accorded men took the form a march past the cenotaph, the procession being headed by the Main Ambulance Band, a short service in memory of the fallen, and then a meat tea, which was served in the Large ball, the expenses which were defrayed the Colliery Company.