At Manvers Main we are locked out, for what we do not know,
We want fair play and a fair day’s pay, at Manvers one and two.
We’ve had three arbitrations, at Manvers number one,
But we are unsettled yet, we’re about where we began.
The first it was six years ago, a few headings in dispute,
Where powder was prohibited, the price we did dispute.
One bob per yard for all dry boards, and nothing for the fly,
Alas all the extra pay we got, at the price we agreed to try.
The second was in “seventy six”, at the commencement of the year,
We thought we ’ad got a grand award, so fair it did appear,
But Mr. T ….., with his keen eye, soon found it would not do,
To give his workmen such a treat, the award he soon broke through.
The third and last was recently, in the present year of grace,
Master and man they went to work, it was a slashing race,
Our arbitrators fought like men, but the odds were two to one,
The umpire gave in his award, and then the race was run.
The masters won of course, their purse was more than we could stand,
When they can o’ercome working men, they think it noble grand,
But a time of reckoning’s sure to come, when all men meet as one,
When tyrants of poor workmen have to account for what they’ve done.
So now, kind friends, we do implore, your pity and support,
We hope and trust you’ll never have the same grievance to report,
And may God help poor working men to earn an honest crust,
He will help them who help themselves, and in Him put their trust.
This is a contemporary song about Yorkshire.
This song is sung by Keith Tomlinson of Swinton, near Mexborough South Yorkshire
Coal getting and the work of miners was, and is, a hazardous dirty job, but industrialised Britain relied heavily upon this raw material to provide fuel for steel production.
Before Nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947 which brought about the National Coal Board, mining was in the hands of local land or pit owners whose profit motivation tended to turn a blind eye upon safety considerations.
The unions such as NUM did become strong on the power afforded by collective representation of the colliers’ interests, which included pay and working conditions.
However, one of the tools which brought miners to heel was to lock them out of their place of employment, thus denying them pay, in days preceding the union’s strength.