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THE IRON AND COAL TRADES. { (From Tuesday's Times.) A conference between Scotch mineowners and work- j men on the subject of the special rules under the Mines Regulation Act, which was brought about by the intervention ot several Scotch members of Parlia- ment when a general strike was threa ened, was held in Glasgow on Monday. Mr. Sheriff Galbrqith pre- sided. It was explained at the outset that only a few of the owners in Ayrshire were represented, and tbat n'ne of the Fife and Clackmannan employers were present, a settlement having been tff acted in the last- mentioned counties. Mr. Macdonald stated the case for the workmen. They were diasa isfied with the special rule sanctioned by the Home Secretary. They asked to be placed in the same position as the workmen in Northumberland and Durham, and while they would not object to set up props to secure their own working places, they wished deputies appointed for that purpose. Mr. Barns, for the mineowners, said the Scotch owners were following the example of the Associated Mineowners of Lancashire and Cheshire and of five- sixths of the English employers. Northumberland and Durham were placed in an exceptional position, and he considered the rules which had been adopted there were pregnant with danger, and left the question of duty entirely ambiguous. They were the worst contrived rules he had seen. A long discussion was held, and ultimately it was agreed to adjourn the Conference, to enable the masters to consider the proposal submitted but before the meeting separate! the Chairman read a letter, dated May 22 last, addressed to Mr. Maclagan, M.P., which had been received from Lord Elcho As you and Mr. Merry have undertaken to bring together the mineowners and miners of Scotland to consider the recently framed special rules, and as this conference origi- nated in a suggestion of mine made at tbe recent meeting of some of the Scotch members and miners' delegates at the Bouse of Common", 1 wish, being unable to attend the con- ference to say a word anent it. I am induced to do> mainly because It appears, from what we read In *n P prints, >»s li neither party were disposed to meet i j t)le ot coi'ci lati .n and conces-ion that leads to the amicable settlement of disputes. There seems are re»< IvkI foregone conclusion. The minenwhich to accept no settlement of the ^8Peownera on their gi le, they are coiitendmg; ™ the letter of the special h7epWTh«r^eUaUon cf the Mines Act was to insure rules. The JU'e"ti 0fthe miner by throwing the I *s far as possible reasonably prictlcahle upon > onus of responsibility as re,erence ia the Act tQ the ■ rutes vnll'show tnat in this spirit and to this end they wcre framed by Parliamen'. I cannot believe that any rnine- owner in Scotland will dispute that the intention of the Act was to throw generally the onus of the safety of the miner, not only in 'every travelling road,' but also In i every working place, upon the owner or manager, and that he should be responsible for the efficiency of the timbering or propping. On the other hand, It ooald only be, and was only intended, that this responsibility should he reasonable aud practicable. At the recent meet- ing at the House of Commons between some of the Scotch members and miners' delegates, already rrlerred to, these last, when I put it to their, aid not dispute tie absurdity of proposing that a nrneowner or wantg-r was to find a deputy to stand by each hewer of coal anr. be ready to prop Ms working-place at all times as hi- work proceeded. They one and all admitted that they must themselves timber their own working places in the absence of the deputy and as their work proceeded and that self-interest alone would force them to do S3, otherwise they would have to stop work until his return. It is not, then, to the propping by themselves of then immediate workingoplaces that the miners appear to object, but they object to the lesponsl- billty of the proper timbering of the wo'king places being thrown upon them, an i to their I being bound' by the special rules to prop and secure the roof and sides at which they shall be employed to the distance from the face of 12 feet, and in the stoop and room' system to prop and secure the roof and sides at least 15 feet back from the face One man at the meeting said that now, aocording to custom' in his mine, the miner was only responsible for propping three ftet back from the face, and that these spe- cial rules, therefore, placed all the men in that mine in a much worse position than they now were to respect to tim- ber ing. If, then, I am right in the view I take of the spirit and intention of the Act of Parliament and its framers at regards the prepping of the working-places, the special rules of the North of England United Coal Trade Association appear more in accordance with that spirit and intention than those against which the miners of Scotland com- plain. Then, by the North of England seventh special rule, if the working is unsafe for want of timber being set, In the absence of the deputy, there being sufficient timber of proper lengths in the place, the hewer to set it in order to keep himself safe or cease to work and report the same, o the overman. In all cases where necessary he is to sprag his jud of coal when working under it.' Now, under this lule no hewer in his senses will cease work* and report to the overman,' but will, as his work proceeds, set timber' to keep hinnelf safe, else he must stop work and stand idle, thus diminishing his earnings, so that practically under this rule the hewers prop their own Immediate working-places under the supervision and responsibility of the deputy or person appointed by the owners or manager. Surely some such arrangement and understanding may be come to In Scotland at a friendly meeting of the parties concerned, and a corresponding change In the special rules be mutually agreed upon? Meantime I am unwilling to believe that Scotchmen, whether mineowners or minus will f how themselves less capable than the men of North- umberland and Durham of coming to a just and amicable settlement in this master of timbering, upon the efficiency of which the safety of life and limb inmtnes so greatly depends. Let us at least hope that neither aide will go to this oon- ference unprepared to consider the question in a irienuiy and conciliatory spirit, and that a matter which appears thus capable of a reasonab'e and satisfactory settlement may not result in further deputes—ah jve all, in the strike, disastrous to miners, mineowners, and the public at large.— I am, &c., BlLCHO.


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----.-. LORD DERBY on the…