Haywood Gas Coal Co. (Messrs Johnstone) - Extract from Truck Report 1871
The Haywood Gas Coal Company has works near Carnwarth. About 300 men are here employed. The pays are fortnightly, advances are given three times the first week and twice the second, and the men are expected to take about two-thirds of the money advanced to the store. The wages for 1869 amounted to £14,174, and the advances to £4,861. The system pursued here differs from any system previously described. Any miner who desires an advance goes for cash to the clerk's office and brings it to the store, pays for what goods he then buys, and takes away with him the money which he does not spend at the time. For instance, if his advance amounts to 15s., and he has bought 2s. 10d. worth of goods, he is thereupon furnished with a blue line to certify that he has spent 2s. 10d. in the store, and so on from time to time until he "comes towards the end " of the 15s. When the storekeeper is satisfied that "enough" has been purchased, he initials the blue line, and sends it back to the advance clerk to prove that the customer has spent "sufficient money" in the store. The next time the man wants an advance the blue line must be produced to the advance clerk, in order to show that the requisite proportion of the previous advance has gone through the store. Nor can a fresh advance be obtained without the production of this credential. The line is coloured blue, and the figures are marked on it in "a sort of potassic ink," in order to keep the men from "forgery." As to other compulsion used at these works, the storeman's evidence is as follows:
Q If the men do not come to the store do you speak to the manager about them? I spoke once to the manager about a twelvemonth ago.
Q Because a man did not come to you with his advance?-Yes.
Q Do you keep a list of the men who slope the store ? - We get a list from the clerk every cash-day.
Q Of the men who have sloped the store? - Of the men who have cashed. Of course, if there are no slopers we cannot get a list of the slopers. I have only had two slopers all the time I have been there - one of them was named Gormally and the other Russell.
Q Did you speak to the manager about them? - No; I only spoke to him about one of them.
Q What has become of the two slopers ? - They are still in the works.
Q Did they give up sloping? - They did.
The system is thus quite complete, and it is not surprising to hear that the whole of the advances from June 1869 to June 1870, with a very small exception, had gone through the store. The pay men are free to dispose as they please of their money.
I am storekeeper to the Haywood Gas Coke Company. We have about 300 men, fortnightly pays, and no poundage. The men are expected to take about two thirds of the money to the store. Our system is a s follows: - a miner goes for cash to the clerk and brings the cash to the store. He pays for what goods he then gets and takes away with him the money which he does not spend at the time. For instance, if he has cashed 15s. has bought 2s. 10d. worth of goods, he pays for them, and gets back the change. Then we give him a blue line to certify that he has spent 2s. 10d. in the store and so on, until he has spent the whole of the 15s. there, and when I am satisfied that he has spent sufficient money at the store I initial the line, and send it back to the advance clerk, to prove that enough has been spent. The next time the man wants an advance, he has to produce that line to the cash advance clerk in order to satisfy the clerk that be has spent the whole of it at the store. The line is made of blue paper written on with potassic ink, in order to prevent forgery by the men. We have only had two cases of stopping books within the last two years. We have had occasion to do it oftener, but we have not done it. Perhaps we ask the people very civilly about it, or say to the men, "This is not at all what we would like," or something of that sort, and that serves our purpose. It is at my discretion to fix how much of the sum advanced a man has to leave at the store. When I am satisfied I initial the line. The pay-men are not expected to leave anything at the store. I spoke to the manager about 12 months ago about a man not coming to the store. We get a list from the clerk every cash day of the men who have cashed. Of course, if there are no slopers we cannot get a list of the slopcrs. I have only had two slopers all the time I have been there, that is two years; one of them was named Gormally and the other Russell. I only spoke to the manager about one of them. Both are still in the works. They gave up their sloping. They are the only two instances I had in the two years. My calculation of profit is 11 ½ % upon the turn over. The whole of the advances, with a very small exception, have gone through the store. We have also a good deal of outside custom. Our stock in June was £620. In calculating the 11 ½ %, I have added the discounts on the purchases to the sales. That will not affect the absolute amount of the profit, but it will affect the amount of the percentage. I did not do it with that object.
I am cash advance clerk. In 1869 the wages were £14,174, and the advances £4,861.