In the 1842 report of the Childrens Employment Commission, Mr Robert Franks quoted the following set of regulations:

First – When expenses have been incurred in flitting a collier to ………… colliery, and he shall go away before having served six months, such expenses shall be refunded by him.

Second – Three tubs of“ “fire coal” shall be allowed to every married collier every three weeks, and three tubs to an unmarried collier every four weeks, provided he has put out five days’ full work each week; but if he does not work five full days’ work each week, he shall forfeit his “fire coal”, unless he produces the colliery surgeon’s certificate of his inability to work, in that event he shall be entitled to his “fire coal” as usual.

Third – Two weeks’ notice shall be given by every collier of his intention to leave the colliery, and such notice to be given to the coal grieve, on the Saturday only, at the pay-table, when the collier will receive from the coal grieve a certificate that he has given the notice required. Like notice to be given by the manager of the colliery, when he wishes to part with a collier.

Fourth – Each collier must strictly conform to the regulations of the pit he is working in, and obey the orders of the oversman, under a penalty of 5s. for each offence.

Fifth – When a collier occupies a house belonging to the colliery, he shall flit and remove from said house immediately on his leaving the colliery.

The following document is signed by the workmen at the time of the engagement, and upon leaving the subjoined notice is required :-

I, …………………… having this day engaged as a collier at ………… Colliery, hereby agree to abide by the annexed general regulations of said colliery, a printed copy of which, I acknowledge to have now received.
(signed & witnessed)

………………….. has this day given notice of his intention to leave at the expiration of two weeks from this date.
(signed) Coal-grieve

Example of General Conditions from Donibristle

General Conditions of the contract between the owners of Donnibristle Coal-Works and their workmen or contractors, and which, unless altered by another written contract, shall be held as the terms of agreement between the parties.

1. Every Workman entering on employment at the Works shall he held to be engaged at such wages or price as may in each case be agreed on between the Parties, for two weeks, to run from the first pay-day following his entry, and thereafter until he shall have given his employers, or received from them, written notice of his or their intention to quit; which notice can only be given on the pay-day, and shall be of two weeks’ duration from the pay-day.

2. Each Pitman shall be bound, if in health, to work at least, the full days in each week, but shall run the risk of his work being stopped by any unforeseen occurrence or accident at, or to the Works, or during the period of necessary repairs thereon.

3. All Workmen who shall receive, or take benefit from, any advances or obligations by their employers for providing medicine, or medical attendance, or any fuel or material, tools or implements used in their work, or for rent of houses occupied by them, or for contributions made on their behalf to any Friendly Societies or Savings Bank, or for relief in sickness, or education of their children, shall be held to have authorised such advances or obligations on their behalf, and the emplovers shall be empowered to retain and deduct such advances or relief from the wages or price of work of such workmen, from time to time, as may be necessary, all in terms of the Act 1st & 2nd William IV. Chap. 17, Sections 23 & 24.

4. That none of the Workmen engaged as aforesaid, shall be allowed to hold meetings for any alleged object whatever, within the works underground, and all workmen who shall be found contravening this general condition, or who shall become parties to an Association whose rules or directions shall be inconsistent with their due and strict fulfilment of any of the foresaid Articles, or who shall interfere with any of the workmen employed at the works, by obstructing or annoying them in any manner of way shall be immediately dismissed by the employers on the instant, without warning and with the forfeiture of the wages or price of work which may have been wrought for, but not paid at the time.

5. Where any workman is in possession of a house, or garden, or both, belonging to, or under lease to his employers, the same shall be held to have been given for his accommodation as such, during the subsistence, and in part consideration of his contract with his employers only ; and such possession shall terminate absolutely on the expiry of said contract, or on such Workman ceasing to be employed at the works in whatever manner of way.

6. The value of said accommodation being, upon entry of the workman thereto, fixed at an agreed on sum per week, shall be retained at the pay-table, and form a deduction from the wages or price of the work performed ; but he may be allowed to occupy the house free of rent if his employers shall think proper.

7. Each house shall he kept in repair at the expense of the workman, during his occupancy, except as to the roof, which the employers shall be hound to keep in proper order.

8. No Workman shall, without the special written consent of his employers, keep any lodger not employed at the Works; and any Workman contravening this Article shall be charged with, and held as agreeing to pay, double of the rent for the time such lodger may reside with him. No Workman shall be allowed to keep dogs, swine, or any other animals, or poultry of any kind, without the consent of the employer ; and any Workman contravening this rule shall be chargeable with double of the rent of his house, as damages, during the time that this Article shall be so contravened.

9. The coal allowed to the Workmen being solely for the use of their own families, no workman shall be allowed to sell or give away any part of the said coal ; otherwise the persons contravening shall be chargeable with double the price of said coal, as a. deduction from his wages; or, in the option of the Owner, the purchasers or receivers of such coal shall be liable for the price or value thereof.

10. In the event of the Workmen quitting or being removed from, their houses, without having reaped the benefit of the seed, and labour laid out by them on the gardens, they shall, except only where they may have been removed for offences committed, (in the sense of these conditions or otherwise) either be allowed the value of such seed or labour by the Owners, or to dispose thereof to their successors in the premises; and no Workman shall he allowed to dispose of, or give away any part of the ashes or manure, unless it, is to be used for the garden attached to his house, without the consent of the employer.

11. Every Workman shall he held to have specially agreed, that the wages or price of work remaining unpaid to him at the time of his quitting, or being removed from the service of his employers shall not be claimable by, or payable to him, till he shall have actually ceded possession of the house occupied by him, to his employers.

12. The General Regulations herein contained shall be binding in all cases on Contractors or Workmen in their employ at any of the Works belonging to, or leased by, the Owners of the Donnibristle Coal-Works ; and no one shall be entitled to pretend ignorance of the premises.

Scroll to Top