850 Miners idle over 1 man

1926 Three Blantyre Miners at Priory Colliery

1926 Three Blantyre Miners at Priory Colliery


The failure of an underground coal-cutting machineman to turn up for his work on the evening of Sunday 7th August 1938 and the consequent refusal of the pit manager on the following Monday night to allow him to start was responsible for 850 men being idle at Priory Colliery. The Blantyre pit, belonging to William Baird & Co., Ltd. On the one machineman being forbidden to go to work, the other machinemen in both pits refused to start. A meeting of miners was held at the colliery on the Tuesday morning, and they also decided not to start until the man had been reinstated. The failure of the machineman to turn up for work on the Sunday night was a breach of an agreement existing between the manager and the machinemen.

When a machineman was unable to take up duty he was required to notify the manager or overman, and thus allow the officials to make arrangements to got a man to do his work , as machinemen are the most important class of workmen in the colliery.  The manager told a local reporter that he might have overlooked the man’s failure to turn up, but this was the second occasion on which the man had failed to notify them of his inability to attend work. The manager also stated that no overture had been made to him throughout the day by the idle men.

The dispute was settled on Wed 10th August 1938, when seeing that 850 men were on track to lose wages, the machineman took it upon himself to apologise to the manager, which was accepted quickly.

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