Prospect of a Strike – Payment for Bag Dirt

August 1901

Mexborough and Swinton Times, August 30.

Trouble at Local Collieries.

Prospect of a Strike.

Many of our readers will be quite unprepared for the announcement that there is a possibility of a strike at Denaby and Cadeby collieries. People living in this district fully acquainted with the inconvenience attendance upon a rupture between the miners and their employees.

In 1885 and again in 1893 the district felt the ill effects which always follow on a long continued combat between capital and labour. The prospect of a repetition of the experience is not at all pleasant. There are many indications that the men employed at Denaby and Cadeby collieries are in an unsettled state.

A number of meetings have been held recently, at which the matters in dispute had been discussed. At a meeting at the Station Hotel, Conisborough over 700 employees were present. Another meeting was held at the Reresby Arms, Denaby, when between six and 700 attended. A further meeting was held on Thursday night at the Masons Arms, Doncaster road, Mexborough, when there was again a large attendance.

All these gatherings were of a joint character, men employed at both pits attending. Ever since 1885 the men employed underground have been dissatisfied. The conditions under which they returned to work were distasteful. From time to time efforts have been made by the officials of the Yorkshire Minus Association to remedy matters, but with only partial success.

In 1890 a revised list of prices was agreed upon between the management and the men, and this would have been satisfactory if the management had adhered to it. But they did not, and consequently trouble has been brewing ever since.

When the Cadeby priceless was about to be settled certain points that had been overlooked by the Denaby men are brought to light and discussed. The principal item was a remuneration to be paid for the removal of “bag dirt.” Ever since then there has been a feeling amongst the men that they were not been paid according to the agreed price list of 1890. From that time numerous efforts have been made to bring about an understanding between the management and the men, but up to the present all efforts have failed. There are certain kinds of work for which the men contend they should be paid.

Recently in order to arrive at an understanding, Mr B Pickard, M.P., met Mr W.H.Chambers, and discussed the matter. The result of that meeting was, so far as can be seen, practically nothing. When the men realise that not only had the efforts of the branch officials failed, but that the meeting between Mr Pickard, and Mr Chambers had produced no prospect of settlement, they laid their case before the district.

The question put before the district was whether the men should be allowed to give in then notices to leave work. With a view to testing the feelings of the men the meetings referred to above were held. At all the three meetings the men had been unanimous that a ballot vote should be taken to ascertain whether the notices should be handed i are n. Nothing has been said by the officials of the branches to influence the men to sign either one way or the other as to how to sign the papers.

The case has been stated to the men in all its aspects, and they are now left to decide whether or not there shall be a strike. The ballot will probably be taken sometime next week. But before them an open-air mass meeting is to be held on Sunday morning next, near the Station Hotel, at which it is all there will be a large attendance.

At the present time the relations between the men’s officials and the management are very strained. If a strike occurs over 3000 men and boys will be affected.

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