There is a coal mine near Newcastle, writes an "Evening World" mining correspondent, where there is no under-manager, engineer, weighman, cashier or registrar. At least these offices are held by people who have other work. The total number employed, including the manager is 18.
The pit is Callerton Colliery, Westerhope, near Newcastle, and it is probably the oldest in Northumberland and Durham, if not the oldest in England.
It was taken over by its present owners about 18 months ago. The managing director is Mr. E. H. Lowe, the Manager Mr. J. Robinson, and the secretary Mr. H. H. Humble.
I found the manager busy at the winding engine. He laughed when I asked him how many firemen were employed to make the steam for his engine. He is his own fireman, he told me.
He is manager, fireman and engineer, and, in his spare time, does any little job.
"We are all workers here," he said.
The secretarial duties, supervision of the mechanical work, coal-selling, and a few other responsibilities are in the hands of Mr Humble. Both Mr Robinson and Mr Humble are share-holders. Mr Robinson's son is over-man and deputy over-man.
ONE-MAN SCREENING STAFF
Besides these four officials, there are a banksman, eight coal-hewers, three putters, and three runners-out. The banksman, besides banking-out the coal, teams it, takes the tokens off the tubs, and does the duties of registrar.
The winding engine, more than 60 years old, was used to drive the piles in the construction of the Swing Bridge, Newcastle.
He is, in fact, the whole screening staff.
The runners-out take over the tubs from the putters and bring them to the bottom of the shaft. One of them does the work of onsetter.
When the present owners took over the colliery only eight men where employed but since then the output has risen and the number of employees increased accordingly. The present output varies from 12 to 15 tons a day.
Even this little colliery is affected by the quota system, although its trade is purely landsale.
QUOTA REDUCES OUTPUT
Its output has to be reduced to about eight tons a day. At present the quota is being exceeded, and the result is a fine of 2s. 6d. on every extra ton drawn.
The demand already exceeds the supply, and I saw a cartman turned away disappointed while I was there.
But for the quota system there was a probability of the number employed being increased to about 40, but now there is a likelihood of a reduction to 12.
It is not by any means a modern colliery, but everybody there appeared perfectly happy and nobody shirked any little job that came his way.