The Dispute at Denaby Main.

June 1889

Sheffield Independent – Wednesday 26 June 1889

The Dispute at Denaby Main.

An adjourned meeting of the ” top ” men employed at the Denaby Main Colliery was held at Mexbro’ yesterday.

About 300 men are concerned, and they declare that the wages now paid only average about 17s., instead of 24s. as formerly. It was explained to the men, in answer to a question, that they could enrol themselves as members of the county miners’ association, if they chose, on paying the usual contributions. They would see what the rules were ; but it did not seem there were any serious difficulties in the way.

Up to the commencement of the present month between 17,000 and 18,000 ” top ” men at the various collieries had branches in connection with the association ; but yet only about 130 were members of the association. These were chiefly men who had worked in the pit and got injured, and who were desirous of keeping np their membership so us to get the death claims. That was only a very small proportion in comparison with the numbers employed on the surface at the various collieries.

The question, however, was now being taken up, and probably the number would soon be augmented. It was only reasonable that the “top” men should participate in the wage advances the same as the colliers, because when there were reductions the same rule applied. Organisation and self-help were essential to success, and if the “top” men acted according to that they would soon improve their present position. Of course, they had to be members of the association 13 weeks before they were entitled to victim, strike, or lock-out pay, or death claims. The miners would not be able to support them or to take any action until that time bad elapsed.

The Chairman said the Denaby Mam “top” men would set an example to the men elsewhere by joining the union. The sooner they had the union “star” on their breasts the better. (Cheers.)

They ought to be able to get a reasonable week’s wage in six days and not have to work ten duye for it. (Hear, hear.)

A Workman: I move we do all wear the “stars.” (Cheers.)

Another: I will second that.

The Chairman: Those in favour of getting the union medal, hands ?? The reply was the raising of the hand by all the men present.

Another speaker then moved that a deputation wait on the manager and ask him to grant the top-men the full 10 per cent, advance which had last been paid to the miners. He was sure the top-men would not settle down till they got it. (Hear, hear.)

The men were told by a member of the union that they had come to a wise decision, and he hoped they would go on and prosper. He was sure the colliers would be glad to help their brethren to the utmost of their power. He condemned the long hours the men had had to work.

The motion to see the manager was put and carried unanimously.