Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 46 > Page 58 - Cape Breton Miners Speaking, 1888

Page 58 - Cape Breton Miners Speaking, 1888

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/8/1 (171 reads)

tor himself said he would rather not take my money. I believe I am not the only one that does not pay. Q. How old are the youngest children who work in the mine? A. I think I am safe in saying that they are working as young as 9 and 10 years underground, ...from the appearance of the boys. Q. Can they read and write? A. I think they have a small chance. Q. Are they all trappers? A. Generally. Q. You are paid monthly? A. Yes. Q. Is that an ad? vantage? A. No; we think it is a disadvantage. Q, Will you explain how? A. We are not even paid monthly. If we begin work on the 1st of May, we do not get any money until the 15th of June, and then we only get paid for the work done in May. That is, one-third of the money is kept back. Q. You get all the money for May on the 15th of June? A. Yes; but we have to wait a month and a half for our pay. Q. Do you get any sub-pay? A. No; except we may go to the office and ask the paymaster for a little money; he may advance it if he thinks we can make both ends meet. When we get paid monthly the only place we have to go to for supplies is the compa? ny's store, and we pay higher there than we would do at the cash store. I will give a few of the prices if you will take them. I did not pick out the dearest articles or the cheapest. In the com? pany's store we pay $6.25 for a barrel of flour; in the cash stores we get it for $5.50. A pound of tea in the company's store costs 35(t; in the cash store it costs from 22(t to 30t. Sugar is 9(t a pound in the company's store and Qi in the cash store. Soap is 7' and 8t a pound in the company's store and the same quality in the cash store is St a pound. Molasses is SOt a gallon in the company's store and 40(t in the cash store. Butter is 22(t and sometimes 26(j; a pound in the company's store while, if you buy it from countrymen or from the neigh? boring stores, it will average 20(t. Q. Are all those articles of the same brand and as good quality as from the company's store? A. Yes, as far as I know I might say further that the potatoes I buy from the company's store cost 80' a bushel, while I can get them for cash for from AQt to 45(1!:. So what brings me and a good many workmen to the company's store is because we have no cash; we have so long to wait for our money. Q. Have there been any accidents in your mine as late? A. No; not many. I know of some. Q. Is there much gas in the mine? A. There is. Q. Can you work with open lamps? A. I can. Q. Does anyone go into the mine before the workmen to see if there is any gas? A. They do. Q. Have there been any explosions of gas? A. No; there have been no explosions, but I know of one man being burnt. Q. Was he badly burnt? A. He was off from his work for a consider? able time. Q. Does the roof come down to a considerable ex? tent? A. No; we have no difficulty overhead. On the eastern side of the pit, where they are work? ing at pillars, the roof comes down. Q. Have you known men to be hurt? A. Yes. Q. How long ago? A. Last year. Q. Were they badly hurt? A. One of them had his leg broken. Q. Is there any fund from which men get relief when they are hurt or sick? A. No. Q. You don't get any from the association to which you belong? A. The only relief that is given is out of the funds of the association or out of the miners' pockets. The miners generally get up a subscrip? tion for those who are not able to help themselves. I have known of a subscription being got up and the men contributed and so did the manager. Q. Does the doctor attend men who are laid up for a long time without extra charge? A. Yes; he at? tends them straight through. Q. Does he make an ex? tra charge in case of childbirth? A. He does I think it is $4. Q. Do the miners have any voice in the election of a doctor? A. No; not that I know of. Q. The manager appoints him? A. Yes; as far as I know. Q. You have nothing else to suggest, have you? A. No; I think every stone is turned, pretty much. Our thanks fo David Frank, University of New Bruns? wick, who provided us with this selection from the Royal Commission, as well as the data used in the brief introduction. The photo of miners at the en? trance of the Port Morien mine came from the Min? ers' Museum, Quarry Point, Glace Bay. Druker Insurance Charlotte St., Sydney . . . 562-5504 Mayflower Mall. 564-1818 Will INSUK VIRTUALLY ANY CAR. HOUSE OR JUSINESS COMPARE. RATES. YOU COULD SAVE. Phone Toll Free 1-564-6000 BUDGET PLAN AVAILABLE IN EMERGENCY: Awie Druker, F.I.I.C. 564-6615 Miners' Village Restaurant A unuiueCi' tvarm antC pleasant attnosphcre, at tfi • ni>fEkS' nusEun, aL'cE B>'i), n.s. 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