2 OCTOBER 1920, Page 1


THE coal negotiations have again become critical when we write on Thursday. If there are any reasons for hope they lie in the fact that most of the workers, if not most of the miners themselves, are conscious of the extreme weakness of the miners' position. The railwaymen and the transport workers are evidently frightened of a strike. They know that the miners would not have enough money for strike pay for more than about a fortnight, and they also know that on many of the coal-fields the men are so half-hearted that there would be a danger of their dribbling back to work from the beginning. There are, however, no reasons for hopefulness in the form in which the breakdown of the negotiations was announced on Wednesday night. The miners' representatives met the Prime Minister at 9 o'clock that night and reported their failure to come to any agreement with the coal-owners. The Prime Minister then urged the desirability of a further meeting with the coal-owners in order to try once more to agree upon a datum line. The miners' representatives, however, replied that in their opinion no good would come of another meeting. They stated that they would report to their Conference which is being held when we write these lines.