Bottler files claim after factory accident

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1913 Police Court.

Today, at the Scarborough County Court, an arbitration case came before Judge Lock in which John Towell, bottler, 31 James Street, was the plaintiff, and the Scarborough and Whitby Brewery Company Ltd, were the defendants.

Mr J Whitfield, solicitor, was for applicant, and Mr N Crombie, York, was for respondents.

Mr Whitfield said that at the time of the accident applicant was in law, an infant, being at the time 19¾. He attained full age in July last. The accident occurred in May, 1912, and for some weeks he was off work. At the time the accident occurred he was getting 9s per week, but previously he had been receiving 8s and the compensation was paid on the 8s basis. The applicant returned to work in July, 1912, and shortly before that application was filed he was getting 11s or 12s a week. Shortly after he was 21 he was getting that.

When he applied for the increase it was refused at first, but some two or three weeks later the increase was given with the intimation that it would cease at the end of the summer. The work was done by young men up to 21, who then left and got work as labourers, or other employment. Applicant had had a big toe amputated as the result of the accident, and could not do work he otherwise would have been able to do. Had it not been for the accident he might have been earning full labourer’s wages. Twelve shillings a week was a woefully small wage, particularly as it was reduced during the winter months to 11s. The man might have been earning now 22s 6d a week.

Towell, when giving evidence, gave in answer to Mr Whitfield, a statement as to anything but precisely wages some unskilled men were paid. Labourers, he said, got from 18s to 22s 6d. Rullymen began at about 15s, and got up to about £1 a week, and furniture removers up to about 25s a week.

By Mr Crombie: Some of the youths about the same age had had less wages than he had. He did not agree that his powers were not impaired by the loss of the toe end. His object in taking these proceedings was to get a lump sum, and he admitted that he had said so, and that he placed the value at £80.

Tom Tindall, a tall well set up youth, said he was 20 and getting 14s a week. He hoped to get into a police force.

Mr Crombie: From a brewery to the police force. (Laughter.)

Mr Crombie: You are getting 2s more because you had previous experience? - Yes.

You are satisfied with your pay? - Why, I have to be. (Laughter, in which the judge joined in.)

You have been there two years? - Why, I am just stopping there to pass the time away. (Renewed laughter.)

You have not been able to get a better job? - I soon 
shall do.

Mr Crombie: Well, we all must live in hope. Wasn’t there going to be a strike amongst you at the beginning of the summer?

Witness: Not for me. I wanted a rise apart from the other lot. I was looking after myself.

Mr Crombie: Wise man. You didn’t get your rise did you?

Witness: Yes, I did.

Dr Ross said the amputation of the big toe would affect the applicant in locomotion to some extent.

By Mr Crombie: In about twelve or eighteen months he might get used to it.

By Mr Whitfield: The remaining part of the toe was of no use as leverage for the remainder of the foot.

This closed the case for the applicant, and the Judge said there was no evidence he had been trying to get work elsewhere and could not get it because of his toe.

Mr Whitfield said that the man could not stand all day.

His Honour: He may get used to it, and at present he isn’t doing it.

Mr Whitfield urged that had the youth not had that accident he might have been earning more.

His Honour said that he could only find for applicant a declaration of liability.

After legal argument his Honour said he would give Mr Whitfield his costs until the answer was filed, the costs after to be borne by each party.