Guide to the Dataset Deposited in the



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THE MINISTRY of LABOUR RECORDS of COALMINING STRIKES

1893-1940

A Guide to the Dataset Deposited in the
ESRC Data Archive


Volume I: Sources, Methods, Data Definitions and Coding Procedures

Quentin Outram

University of Leeds
1997

THE MINISTRY of LABOUR RECORDS of COALMINING STRIKES

1893-1940
A Guide to the Dataset Deposited in the ESRC Data Archive
Volume I: Sources, Methods, Data Definitions and Coding Procedures

Contents of Volume I







Introduction

5

1.

Sources and Availability

7

2.

Method of Collection

11

3.

General Evaluation

15







(a) Postal Questionnaires and Response Rates

15







(b) Coverage

19







(c) Plurality of Sources

20







(d) The Contemporary Reception

20







(e) Conclusion

21

4.

The Data: Preliminary Problems

21







(a) Definition of a Strike: General Issues

21







(b) Definition of a Strike: Details

26







(c) Problems of Counting Strikes

27










(i) The Unit of Enumeration




27










(ii) Other Problems




27







(d) Definition of the Industry

29







(e) Geographical Coverage

29







(f) The National Strikes and Lock-outs

29

5.

The Variables

30







(a) Case Number (CASENO)

30







(b) Locality (LOCAL and PLACE)

30










(i) Coding Procedures

30










(ii) Data Problems

33







(c) The Number of Firms Affected (NFIRMS)

34







(d) Occupations of these Directly and Indirectly Involved (ODA1, ODA2, ODAOTHER, OIA1, OIA2, OIAOTHER)

35







(e) Numbers Directly (NDIRAFF) and Indirectly Involved

37










(NINDAFF), Daily Average Number Involved, Number Previously Included in Same Year













(i) Numbers Directly and Indirectly Involved

37










(ii) The Daily Average Number Involved




38










(iii) Number Previously Included in Same Year

40







(f) Date of the Beginning (STARTDAY, STARTMTH, STARTYR)

41










and End (FINDAY, FINMTH, FINYR) of the Strike, Duration in Weeks (DURATWKS), Duration in Days (STARTFIN and CALDUR), and Working Days Lost (ROOTWDL)













(i) Beginning and End




41










(ii) ‘Duration in Weeks’




42










(ii) Duration in Days




43










(iii) Working Days Lost




44







(g) Statement and Classification of Cause (CAUSE)

45







(h) Statement and Classification of Result (RESULT)

56







(i) Classification of Method of Settlement (METHOD)

59







(j) Other Data Derived from the Statements of Cause and Result: Legal

61










Action, Work Resumed on Advice of Trade Union Officials













(i) Legal Action (LEGAL)




61










(ii) Work Resumed on the Advice of Trade Union Officials (WRATU)

65







(k) Trade Union Attitude (TUATT)

65







(l) Company and Colliery Name (COCODE, CYCODE)

66










(i) Colliery Definition in the List of Mines and in

68













PRE1940.TXT













(ii) Treatment of Listing Changes

69










(iii) Implications of the Coding Strategy

70










(iv) Coding Procedures, Compilation of the Codebooks of

71













Colliery and Company Names and the Layout of the Codebook of Colliery Names
















Spelling Checks

72













Identification of Collieries and Companies

72













Name Changes

72













Ambiguous Record Book Entries

73










(v) Colliery naming conventions used in PRE1940.TXT

74










(vi) Multi-colliery Strikes

77







(m) The Number of Collieries Involved (NCIESINV)

77







(n) Number of Collieries Owned by the Company (NCIES)

78







(o) Numbers Employed at the Struck Colliery (CYUG, CYAG) and at All the Company’s Collieries (COUG, COAG)

80

6.

Consistency Checks

81

7.

Conclusion

82




Appendix I

Questions Asked in the Forms of Inquiry

83

Appendix II

Consolidated List of the Official Examples of the Classification of Strikes by Cause, together with Further Examples direct from the Record Books

86

Appendix III

Record Book Entries on National Strikes and Lock-outs in Coal Mining 1903-40

103

Appendix IV

Allocation of Borderline Localities to Counties

106

Appendix V

Assignment of Occupational Terms to Occupational Codes

109

Appendix VI

Deciphering the Labour Department/Ministry of Labour Codes for the Method of Settlement

117

Appendix VII

The Coding of Strikes on Trade Union Issues

121










List of References




126
to 135

Contents of Volume II








Introduction

3

1

The Layout of PREJAN02.TXT and PRE1921.TXT

3

2.

The Layout of PRE1940.TXT

5










3.

The General Codebook

8

4.

The Colliery Name Codebooks

23







Alphabetic Listing by Colliery Name

23







Numeric Listing by CYCODE

65

5.

The Company Name Codebooks

104







Alphabetic Listing by Company Name

104







Numeric Listing by COCODE

138

6.

Unidentified Colliery and Company Name Codebook

155







Alphabetic Listing

172







Numeric Listing

174







to 176

THE MINISTRY of LABOUR RECORDS of COAL MINING STRIKES

1893-1940
A Guide to the Dataset Deposited in the ESRC Data Archive
Volume I: Sources, Methods, Data Definitions and Coding Procedures
Introduction

This document describes and discusses the official data available on strikes in the British coalmining industry in the era before nationalization and gives a guide to the computer readable datasets derived from these records deposited at the ESRC Data Archive at Essex University. It is a revised version of the unpublished paper cited as Q. Outram, Official Statistical Records of British Coal Mining Strikes 1893-1940: An Evaluation and a Coding Scheme, 1978, in the research published by R. A. Church, D. N. Smith and Q. Outram.1


There are three data files, covering the strikes beginning between January 1893 and the end of January 1902 (PREJAN02.TXT), January 1903 and the end of December 1920 (PRE1921.TXT) and January 1921 and the end of December 1940 (PRE1940.TXT). Details of the layout of these files and the coding scheme will be found in Volume II of this document.
The data contained in the last two of these files were originally gathered to form an empirical backdrop to theoretical work on wage bargaining and strike activity undertaken as doctoral research by Outram.2 These two files were originally compiled in the mid-1970s and the coding of the data reflects the constraints set by the computing facilities of the time. There was little software available for processing textual data and consequently much of the textual data in the source was recorded in the form of numeric codes; inevitably much textual information, some of it potentially interesting, was lost in this process. The data was originally punched onto 80-column format cards and this constrained the amount of information which could be recorded and sometimes led me to record data in ways which were less than ideal. Subsequently it was possible to remove some of these constraints but the datasets described here still bear the marks of their birth.
The dataset now lists each strike officially recorded in the British coal mining industry by the Ministry of Labour and its predecessor bodies from 1893 to 1940, together with all the significant information about each strike gathered by the Ministry. The data available for each strike varies over time but the ‘core’ data includes: location, date and duration, the number of firms involved, the numbers of mineworkers involved and their occupations, the ‘cause’ or ‘object’ of the strike, its result and the method of settlement. From 1921 onwards the datasets include the name of the company and/or colliery affected. These data provided a link to published annual data on individual firms and collieries which has been exploited to add contextual data to each strike record. These contextual data include the numbers employed at the struck colliery and at all the struck company’s collieries. This allows the computation of a ‘strike participation rate’ for each strike, showing the proportion of the colliery or company mine workforce which was involved in the strike. The dataset is unique in that it allows the construction of strike histories for individual collieries over the 1921-1940 period and for individual ‘places’ for the 1893-1940 period.
The wealth of the data encouraged Outram and Church to undertake a further project directly concerned to explain the causes of strike activity in the industry before the Second World War, and the regional and inter-colliery differences in strike propensity. This project received financial support from the ESRC between 1987 and 1990 under award number FOO232337. The dataset was extended back to 1893 for this project.
The focus of the research was on cross-section rather than time series variation. The data have been exploited to provide a detailed description of the dimensions of strike activity in the industry, to investigate the relationship between colliery strike activity and the characteristics of colliery localities, to examine the connections between colliery size, strike activity and miners’ strike solidarity, and to investigate the impact of a number of other factors on strike histories, including technology, working conditions, patterns of mine ownership and management, union membership density, and the markets for coal and mine labour.



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