‘Today’s Meeting with Coal Owners Postponed’ - What was making the news on this day in 1926

On this day: EN 20 April 1926

On this day: EN 20 April 1926 - Credit: Archant

We look back on what was making the news on this day in Norfolk. Today, we look at the Eastern Evening News front page of April 20, 1926.

Owing, it is believed, to difficulties in connexion with the calling together of the mine-owners, today's meeting with the Prmier has been postponed until tomorrow. It is probable that after this meeting the miners and owners will confer, and the Prime Minister will possible also be present.

At tomorrow's meeting, it is expected that the Premier will attempt to find some compromise between the owners' demand of district settlements and that of the men for a national agreement. Only ten days are left before the coal subsidy expires.

With only ten days left before the subsidy expires on May 1st, there was a further delay today when it was announced that the important meeting between the Premier and the coal owners had been postponed until tomorrow.

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It is believed that the decision was found necessary owing to difficulties in connexion with the calling together of the mine owners. After tomorrow's meeting, it is probable that the miners and the owners will confer, and the Premier will possibly also be present.

Same disappointment as expressed in Ministerial circles later in the day. It was expected that as a result of the meeting some considerable progress would be made in solving the difficulties of the situation.

Datum Line

It is believed that one proposal put forward which the owners are prepared to consider favourable is that a national minimum wage should be established as a kind of 'datum' line, and that negotiations should be functioned for district settlements above the figure fixed nationally.

It was to consider these points that the Premier called today's conference in the hope that further negotiations might be made possible. As it is however, these questions will be before the Premier tomorrow. It seems clear that neither the owners nor the men place the same interpretation on some of the recommendations of the report.

Especially as this is so over the recommendation of the Commission regarding the basis on which a new agreement is to be negotiated. The aim of Mr Baldwin will be to reconcile the demands of the miners for a national agreement and a national minimum and those of the owners for district settlements.

So far the owners have not succeeded in opening up district negotiations with the miners' representatives for the purpose of fixing in each district the new wage rate to apply after May 1st. The miners are adhering firmly to the policy laid down by the delegate conference of no wage reductions and no departure from the principle of a national agreement and national minimum wage.

Favourable Sign?

This failure of the owners to succeed in opening district agreements is regarded in some quarters as a favourable sign. Once more, it is expected, the negotiations will be opened on national lines and bring the owners and men to the consideration of a national minimum.

Certainly the mine owners did not make the situation any easier by this attempt to begin district negotiations. Should the Premier succeed in bringing the owners to negotiate nationally instead of locally, much will have been done to bring about a compromise.

In some quarters it is suggested that although the miners will not consider any reduction of wages, a lengthening of hours, as an alternative, would not be met unfavourably.

The executive of the Miners' Federation, which assembled in London today, sat in session prepared to respond to any call to meet the Government or the owners. They met again at 2 o'clock, and learned the announcement that todays meeting had been postponed.