South Yorkshire Times October 25, 1969
Serious Effects of The Strike
With Yorkshire’s 70,000 miners continuing their strike for shorter hours, in spite of the N.C.B’s pay offer of a 27s 6d. a week rise, other local industries were this week beginning to feel the effects of the stoppage.
At the giant Manvers Main Coking Plant at Wath, which employs 700 men, stocks of coal were dwindling and a spokesman for the General and Municipal Workers Union warned that if the ovens could not be kept up to a certain temperature they would break up.
“The plant takes 30,000 tons of coal a week from local pits. At the beginning of the dispute we were able to obtain supplies from the Derbyshire Coalfield, but now this has been cut off, the position is becoming very serious and grows worse every day,” he said.
If the plant was forced to shut down then local collieries could be seriously affected in future, he added.
The Grimethorpe works of Coalite and Chemical Products Ltd., which employ 460 men, were working at only 50 per cent. capacity this week as a result of the strike, but managing director, Mr. Francis Waring said that as yet there was no danger of redundancy.
“It is not the company’s policy to make men redundant except in extreme circumstances. At the moment we are holding daily meetings to keep up to date with the latest position,” said Mr. Waring.
At Mexborough Power Station the position is somewhat brighter. A spokesman said that supplies at all local power stations were sufficient to last four or five weeks and added that there was no danger yet of men having to be laid off.
Meanwhile there seems to be no immediate chance of an end to the dispute, which brought 75 pits of the Yorkshire Coalfield to standstill, and which centres on a pay claim and a demand for 40 hour working week for surface men.
On Wednesday the Yorkshire Area Miner’s Council voted for rejection of the N.C.B. offer of a 20 7S6D a week pay rise, a decision which cut across the recommendations of the National Executive.
Mr S Bullock, area president, said the working hours were the real cause of the dispute not the money involved.
No further meeting of the Yorkshire Area Council’s is planned before next Thursday special union delegates conference in London and union official said a settlement was unlikely before the meeting.
At Cadeby however, where 1600 men were on strike before the surface workers dispute came to her head, the men decided at a mass meeting last Saturday to return to work as soon as the main strike is over.
A local N.U.M. official told the “South Yorkshire Times” after the meeting, “The men have decided to return to work as soon as the dispute is settled, so that negotiations can begin in our own grievances over the deployment of market men. We are giving full support to the surface workers.” He added.