Hide Articles List

14 articles on this Page











COLLIERS' CLAIM FOR WAGES. INTERESTING GARW CASE. CONFLICTING EVIDENCE CASE DIS- MISSED. At Bridgend County Court on Friday, His Honour Judge Bryn Roberts spent three hours in hearing the cases of David James, 25 High-street, Pontycymmer, collier, and Evan Parry, Ebbw Vale, formerly of Ponty- cymmer, against the New Blaengarw Colliery Co., Ltd. Plaintiffs, who were represented by Mr. J. Jenkins, of Swansea, claimed 15s. lid. from the company as extra payment for digging coal at the Victoria Colliery during night shifts, at 2d. per ton plus percentages. The respondent company were represented by Mr. W. A. Williams (Messrs. Stockwood and Williams, Bridgend). Mr. Jenkins said the proceedings were taken not because of the amount owing, but on account of the principle involved. In all collieries it was the custom to pay extra for the night shift, the allowance for cutting coal in the" stalls being 2d. per ton. David James stated that in July of last year the stall in which Parry and he were working, was flooded owing to water being tapped, and they were put on day work for five weeks, expecting that they would be given their old stall again. At the end of that period James Gwyther, a fireman, who was acting under-manager in the absence of Mr. J. S. Hunter, met them, and said that he had no more day work for them. He re- quested them to work nights in the stall where a man named Taylor was employed by day, and they consented. Nothing was said about the price they were to be paid, because it was stipulated in the price list and colliers were never in the habit of discussing the wages under such circumstances. After working nights for five weeks they gave no- tice, as they saw they were not to be paid the extra 2d. per ten. and the under-manager told them he would not annnge that they should work across Taylor. They were seriously disadvantaged by working nights, as there were only ten night turns per fort- night, compared with twelve day turns. By Mr. W. A. Williams: He denied that he and his butty" asked to be allowed to work nights, as they wished to be together. When double shifts were worked the day- men, as well as the night men, received extra but he did not know whether Taylor, who worked by day in the stall, received any- thing. Evan Parry, the other plaintiff, gave cor- roborative evidence. They were asked to work nights, and nothing was said as to the price they took it for granted that the price list would not be violated. When they asked Mr. J. S. Hunter, the under-manager, on his return, whether they were to receive the extra 2d. per ton, he said, "You ought to be glad you .are working," and went away. Albert Harding, who was appointed by the Western District to interview the manager, deposed that Mr. Hunter's explanation was that the men wished to work nights. He ad- mitted that if the men had been sent to work nights, they would be paid the extra. It was not customary to discuss terms before going to work when there was a provision in the list. He had had considerable experience in the coalfield, and knew that it was customary to pay the extra 2d. for night shifts. Mr. Williams: But in working double shifts, it is always understood that the men will change with each other as to night and day work?—Witness: Yes. That did not take place in this case?—No. Mr. Williams then addressed His Honour for the defence. He said the respondents did not deny that the price list provided an extra 2d. per ton for double shifts or that it was generally the custom to pay the extra. The respondents frequently paid the extra in their colliery when double shifts became necessary. But the whole point which His Honour had to decide was whether the extra should be paid in cases where the men were put to do night work at their own request, and in order to suit their own convenience. He contended that there was no liability on the company to pay the extra 2d. under such circumstances, especially when the company had plenty of single places for the men by day. The plaintiffs were old "butties," but the flooding of their stall through an accumu- lation during the holidays—they did not tap water as stated by them—resulted in their being parted. They wished to work to- C, gether. and, as there was no prospect of doing so by day, they asked the fireman to allow them to work nights. He consented on the understanding that they were not to be naid the extra. N James Gwyther, the fireman, said that he nformed the plaintiffs, after they had been loing odd jobs for five weeks. that he had no note work of the kind to offer them, and hey must now be employed in "singles." rhey evidently did not wish to be parted, incl James asked that they might be allowed :o work nights in Taylor's place. Witness -epiied, "I don't object to that. but remem- ber you will not get the extra 2d. per ton, because you will be working there for your 3wn convenience, not ours." He also pointed out that there were plenty of vacant single places, where they might work by day. rhey agreed to the terms, and went to work that" night. It would not be in his province to order them to work double shifts unless it were understood they were not to be paid the extra 2d. It was no advantage to the employers that they should work double shifts. In cases where it was necessary to turn stalls into headings, or to make room for stalls, double shifts were necessary, and the men were always paid the extra 2d. under those circumstances. Mr. Jenkins: Do you mean to say plain- tiffs have spoken an untruth as to the terms? —I mean to say that they have sworn a de- liberate lie. James Lewis, airway man, deposed to hear- ing the conversation between Gwyther and I the men, and he gave corroborative evidence. J. S. Hunter, assistant manager, said the plaintiffs applied to him for the extra 2d., but he told them that they were not entitled to it. as they worked night for their own convenience. No suggestion was made that they should work "across" Taylor. William Henry Hunter, manager, said the men asked to work across Taylor, but he pointed out that it would not be fair to Tavlor. as it was his place, and the plaintiffs were only working nights to suit them- selves. They then asked for the extra 2d., and he said. Certainly not. you know you are not entitled to it." They then gave no- tice. It was not customary, added witness, to pay the extra in such cases. Mr. Jenkins: Have you tried to victimise these men?—I shall not answer. Have you tried to prevent them getting a job elsewhere?—That's none of your busi- ness. Please answer the question?—I shall do no- thing of the kind. I repeat "Mind your own business." Mr. Jenkins: You have had a chance to answer. We will draw our inference that you have victimised- Witness: I should advise you to make no statements that you cannot prove. His Honour said it was evident plaintiffs worked by night to suit their own conveni- ence, and he therefore entered judgment for the respondents

[No title]


The Coryville Enterprise.