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NUM Conference


Series Name
Mining Review 1st Year


Issue No.
Date Released
Nov 1947
Length of issue (in feet)
Stories in this Issue:
  1. 1NUM Conference
  2. 2Swadlincote
  3. 3(Untitled record)


Story No. within this Issue
1 / 3
BFI Summary - The 1947 N.U.M. conference at Rothesay.
COI Commentary - Commentary: This year’s National Union of Mine Workers Annual Conference was at Rothesay on the Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde. Arriving at the conference are the President Mr, Lawther, the General Secretary, Mr. Arthur Horner, the Vice President, Mr. Jim Bowman; fraternal delegates from Europe were also there; and a novel kind of fraternal delegate, Lord Hyndley, the first representative of the coal owners, now the nation, to attend an address of the miners conference. The mean theme of the conference was the need for new labour relations and increased output. In his presidential address Mr. Lawther pointed out that ...
Mr. Lawther: We need at the very minimum 220 million tons of coal this year. The nation must be prepared to take the necessary measures to obtain it. Let’s get at it, keep at it, and stick to it, It is a crime against our own people that unofficial strikes should take place, and we advise you in your own interests, to watch very carefully those who are so ready to call on you to strike. The National Coal Board has met us fairly and squarely. They have done more this year in the period in which they have operated than has been done in the last half century. They are only too willing to be given the opportunity to discuss those problems that arise in our day-to-day life.
Commentary: A different view was expressed by the Scottish Secretary, Will Pearson, who said many General Managers and Colliery Agents attend divisional dispute committees not to solve grievances but to fight them.
Mr. Will Pearson: The division between miners and officials when it comes to disputes is as sharp today as it was with the old coal owners.
Commentator: Calling for co-operation, the General Secretary, Arthur Horner, replied ...
Mr. A. Horner: Let us have any concrete complaints so that they may be properly examined, and let us cease this general attack upon managements as a class as well as upon people in responsible positions.
Commentator: Mr. Horner went on to urge the miners to abide by the five day week wages agreement. He said ...
Mr. Horner: Don’t toy with the idea that you can get us to change this agreement. Even if we have the will to do it, we haven’t got the power, and the Coal Board’s not got the power. The attempt to do so would lead to a major clash with government policy.
Commentator: Lord Hyndley, after being welcomed by the president, Mr. Lawther, reviewed the industry’s achievements since nationalisation. The most far reaching change, he said, has been the introduction of the five day week. While calling for the support of all in the task of re-organisation, Lord Hyndley drew attention to the apathy which still exists in many parts.
Lord Hyndley: It seems that the five day week agreement is not yet being fully honoured. It means that the country is being kept waiting for the coal it has the right to expect.
Commentator: The man speaker on the problem of manpower was the Vice President Mr. Jim Bowmen. He stressed the coal production in the immediate future had to be undertaken with the tools at hand. Therefore, he said ...
Jim Bowmen: The sense of failure of our methods may well depend upon the manpower engaged in the industry.
Commentator: Mr. Bowmen appealed to delegates to help with recruitment and urged the fullest employment of members of the Polish Resettlement Corps. Among the many delegates to speak was the Yorkshire President Mr. Joe Hall. Mr. Lawther then adjourned the conference for a boat trip round the Kyles of Bute. Taking a turn at the helm was Mr. Shinwell. In the lifeboat are the present and past Secretaries of the Union, Arthur Horner and Ebby Edwards, Lord Hyndley. Addressing the conference next day Mr. Shinwell was in a grimmer mood.
Mr. Shinwell: If there are men in the mining industry, or officials in the mining industry, who are not ready to play ball, they’ve got to be dealt with in the most drastic fashion. I’ll tell you why, because the nation can’t afford any monkey tricks of that sort at this time. There’s an awful lot of goodwill. Among the men themselves there’s 90% who are pulling their weight. And I tell the nation I’m proud of them. And though I sometimes speak in a forthright fashion to the miners when I attend demonstrations, they know that I’m proud of them, and would defence them anywhere, and I shall go on doing so. As for the other 10%, let them look out. We can’t afford to stand anymore nonsense. It’ll have to be dealt with. I plead with them to play the game. After all, we want in this mining industry the very best of the men of the country. We want the cream, we’re entitled to the cream. We don’t want passengers. I tell you quite frankly, that so far as I’m personally concerned, and IU think I can speak for His Majesty’s Government, we’ve no intention of seeking to bring about the suspension of the five day week. The five day week was inevitable, having regard to the need for reorganisation in the Mining Industry. If the Miners would only try and overcome these objectionable conditions in the next few months. When the winter comes we shall be able to say to the country "We’ll see you through". And who’ll see them through? Not the Minister of Fuel and Power, or the Chairman of the National Coal Board, for neither of us really matter id I may say so, anyway I don’t! But the Mineworkers have seen the Nation through. That will be a proud day for me and Lord Hyndley.
Conferences; Mining; Labour relations
Footage sources
Big Six Film Unit   604ft shot at the NUM Conference
Written sources
The National Archives INF 6   /388 Used for synopsis
British Film Institute Databases
Hogenkamp, A. P., unpublished DPhil thesis   pxii.
Production Co.
Crown Film Unit
Don Challis
E. Harris
F. Jones
Graham Wallace
Jocelyn Jackson
John Legard
John Taylor
Leon Clore
Maurice Denham
Ministry of Fuel and Power
W. H. May

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