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RETURN To an Order of the House for a Return of all correspondence between any member of the Government… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1897

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 60 Vict. Re Section 16, Coal Mines Regulation Act. 955a
RETURN
To an Order of the House for a Return of all correspondence between any member of
the Government and any other person or persons in regard to matters dealt with
under section 16 of the "Coal Mines Regulation Act," and also a copy of any
report which the Inspector of Mines may have made in connection therewith.
JAMES  BAKER,
Provincial Secretary.
Provincial Secretary's Office,
3rd May, 1897.
Provincial Secretary's Office,
Victoria, B. O, 18th March, 1897.
Sir,—I am directed to forward the enclosed copy of a letter from the Miners' and Mine
Labourers' Protective Association respecting the alleged violation of section 16 of the "Coal
Mines Regulation Act " at the Union Mines, and to state that the Minister of Mines desires
that you will investigate the matter and report to him the result of such enquiry.
I am, etc.,
A. Campbell Reddie,
Deputy Provincial Secretary.
The Government Inspector of Mines, Nanaimo.
Miners' and Mine Labourers' Protective Association of Vancouver Island,
March 9th, 1897.
To the Hon. Col, Baker,
Minister of Mines.
Dear Sir,—The members of the above Association have every reason to believe that
section 16 of ''Coal Mines Regulation Act" is being violated at the Union Mines to the disadvantage of the miners. We would be glad if you, in your capacity as Minister of Mines,
would look into the matter and make any correction that you consider the case demands
according to the Act.
I am, Hon. Sir,
On behalf of the above Association,
Yours faithfully,
Ralph Smith,
Secretary.
Government Office,
Nanaimo, B. O, 31st March, 1897.
Sir,—I have the honour to enclose my report as requested by you in your letter of the
18th instant. In addition to my report on the Union Colliery, I also send you a report on the
Nanaimo and Wellington Collieries, so that you may be in a position to know what they are
doing at all the collieries with section 16 of the "Coal Mines Regulation Act."
I have, etc.,
Hon. Col, James Baker,
Minister of Mines, Victoria, B. C.
Archibald Dick,
Govt. Inspector of Mines. 956 Re Section 16, Coal Mines Regulation Act. 1897
Nanaimo, B. O, 31st March, 1897.
Sir,—As per instructed by your letter of the 18th day of March, of the alleged violation
of section 16 of the " Coal Mines Regulation Act " at the Union Mines.
I have examined and enquired into the working of the above section at the Nanaimo,
Wellington and Union Collieries, so that you can see how they do at each respective colliery.
Nanaimo Colliery
being the oldest, I will take it first. I went and had an interview with some of the miners.
They told me that the coal was weighed in the car as it came out of the mine, the price being
rated at 80 cents per ton, but they were not paid 80 cents, there being a deduction from the
above for dross and fine coal of 5%, after working for some time at this there was another
deduction for the same cause, this time it was 10%, after a time they were given further
deduction of another 10%, so that in place of getting 80 cents after the deduction for dross
and fine coal are paid 6l^ cents per ton. Not being altogether satisfied with the miners'
statement I went to the Nanaimo Colliery office. Here I saw Mr. Bate. After letting him
know what I wanted and about the letter from the Minister of Mines, he told me that as per
agreement between the Company and the men they were allowed a deduction of 15% for small
coal and dross that comes out and weighed with the lump coal.
Wellington Colliery.
I went to this colliery and made enquiry as to the weighing of the coal at the mine and
as to deduction from that weight, if any. I was told that the coal was weighed in the car as it
came out of the mines, and excepting for any rock and dirt that may be found in the coal,
this is the weight and what they are paid for. I saw Mr. Bryden, manager. He said that
the miners were paid by the weight that was in the car as it came out of the mine, less any
rock that may have been sent out and weighed along with the coal, there being a man at the
screen to pick out any rock that may be sent up along with the coal.
Union Colliery.
I went to this colliery on the 25th instant and made a full enquiry as to the system of
having the coal weighed that came out of the mines. I saw and spoke to quite a few miners
on this subject, and I am quite certain that none of them knew the reason why I asked about
the weighing and screening of the coal. I asked if they were aware that the coal they sent
out of the mine was not weighed before it was dumped out of the mine car and screened. All
of them said yes we knew that was the system before we started to work. They also told me
that they knew that they were not paid for what went through the screen, they only contracted to be paid for the coal that goes over the screen. Some of the men that I spoke to
were in the mine at work, and some outside, their day's work being done.
I then saw Mr. Russell, underground Superintendent. He said that all the men in the
mine that were paid by weight knew before they started work that they were only paid for
what coal they sent out that went over the screen. As the men when employed are not told
this, neither are they told that they will be paid for what coal they send out that goes over
the screen, but at the same time they know that they will be paid and that the coal has to go
over the screen before it is weighed, and all our employees were told at one time that the
screenings are not weighed neither are they paid for.
I then saw Mr. Little, Manager of the Union Colliery. He told me that when they
commenced on the present system of screening the coal before it was weighed, all the men at
that time were told that they would only be paid for what coal that went over the screens,
this being the coal that is contracted to be gotten and all that is wanted for the miners to
send out. They are not asked to send out fine coal and dirt, as it costs the same to haul out
one ton as it does one ton of good coal that passes over the screen.
Mr. Little also said that they have not told all the men that are now in the employ that
they will only be paid for the coal that goes over the screen, neither have they been told that
they will be paid for the coal; at the same time when a man gets employed he knows that he
will only be paid for what coal he sends out that passes over the screen bars, and not what
goes through between them. 60 Vict. Re Section 16, Coal Mines Regulation Act. 957
There is about 20 % of what comes out of the mine in the cars goes through the screen.
After washing out the clay and other refuse there is about 11 % of nut and fine coal left. To
get this nut and fine coal into a condition that they could either sell or use it, they had to
erect a coal washing plant to separate the clay and other refuse from the coal. Without this
washer, and before they got it, a large percentage of coal was lost, as they could not sell it
neither could they use it. To make this coal saleable the above washer and machinery in
connection with the same had to be got, and that at an outlay of $70,000.
I have had a talk over the above with many of the men employed in the mines at Union,
and also with the Manager. Both miners and Manager admit that the coal is weighed and
they are paid as per agreement between the company and the miners.
I have, &c,
Archibald Dick,
Govt. Inspector of Mines.
Hon. James Baker,
Minister of Mines,
Victoria, B. C.
VICTORIA, B.C.:
Printed hy Richard Wolkknden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
1897. 

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