The “Bag Dirt” Strike – Mexborough & District Trades Council

July 1902

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 11 July 1902

The Mexborough and District Trades Council and the Strike

Reference to the Denaby and Cadeby strike were made at a meeting of the Mexboro’ and District Trades and Labour Council the previous evening at the old Mason’s Arms, Mexborough.

Mr. J. Baker, the Chairman, alluding to the position at Denaby where something like three thousand men and boys had been thrown out of work said, “They knew that the men had thrown themselves out in an illegal manner, but they believed that they hand of oppression and tyranny long enough. It had been put to strong upon them. He trusted that the delegates to the Trades Council would take the matter back to their branches, and he hoped that they would not be lacking in rendering every possible support that they could.

The Denaby men were members of the trades Council, and they were there brothers, and it billed them to help them at home, and set an example to other Trades Councils. The hall they would do their best, and help those in the unfortunate struggle. He sincerely hope the manners outside will try and help them to secure their strike pay. He hoped the men would come through the ordeal successfully. (Hear, hear.)

Mr Nolan, in the course of a long speech said there Denaby had been working under very great difficulties for a considerable time. The management could not let a man be kept on at one job the length of time; they were always changing, and one did not know when he was talking to a “genuine article.”

The grievance has been going on for a long time, until eventually pits had to be set down. He was very pleased to hear the chairman say, in scan and feel remarks matters come to a crisis. It was true – matters had come to a crisis. He was proud as one who had a grievance at the pits have been set down, and he hoped that the miners would stand firm and not go back to work until they got the grievance and remedied. (Hear, hear.)

Some time ago they had a case at the Doncaster County Court in regard to the “bag dirt” question. The speaker then went on to refer to deduction that had been made from men’s wages in regard to the grievance. Only week the previous Saturday £8 18s 6d was deducted from the wages of four men and gave further instances of the same thing that had occurred.

When cases had occurred like that they had stood in the pit yard, and collected to meet the deductions that the colliery company had made out of young men’s wages, so that those men could take home a respectable wage to maintain their wives and families. (“Shame.”)

That was the state of affairs that now exists at Denaby and Cadeby Main Collieries, and referring to the funds are depleted by management the speaker cited many instances where fines from 2/6 had been inflicted. One was for getting to the bottom three minutes before time, lads leaving their lockers in the tubs, which had afterwards been found and claimed, but they did not get the half crown back. (“Shame.”) These things have become serious and burning questions, until at last they could stand it no longer and had come out. They come to a crisis and they hope to have the support of the Association (Hear, hear.)