Man only wanted to work on certain days

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1913 Police Court

Today at the Scarborough County Court, a request for arbitration which had been filed by the Scarborough Urban District Council for the termination of payments made to Thomas Brewster Brown, labourer, 6, Hudson’s Yard, William Street, Scarborough, under the Workman’s Compensation Act was gone into.

Mr Paley Scott, barrister, instructed by the town clerk (Mr S Jones) was for the applicants, and Mr J Whitfield, solicitor, was for respondent.

Mr Scott, for the Corporation, said the application was for review and termination of the weekly payments made under an award of the late County Court Judge. Brown was in 1908 awarded 9s 6d a week, and on May 7th, 1909, there was an award for 5s a week subject to a further order that in the event of the respondent being employed by the applicants at a wage of 19s a week, the payment of such 5s should be suspended – so long as such employment and wage continued. That employment and wage continued from May 8th, 1909, until April 3rd, 1912. On the latter date respondent, without, apparently, the slightest excuse, left his employment, went home, because he was invited to work in a part of the town from which he could not conveniently get home for his dinner. On July 15th, 1912, the matter came before the Deputy Judge, and the latter came to the conclusion that the Corporation ought not to have refused to have the man back after he had left his work. Following upon that the Borough Engineer wrote – on the same day – offering him work at 19s, as before, and stating that the litigation would not prejudice him in any way. To that Brown wrote that he was prepared to go to work on a certain day, and work certain hours. There had, however, been a reconstruction of the hours of work of all the employees, an increase of three hours a week in summer, and eight hours a week in winter.

The other workmen accepted those conditions and it was, therefore, impossible, that the Corporation should offer Brown work on different terms. Brown, however, refused to go back to work and on November 19th an offer of £50 was made to him to settle the matter. On December 4th he was asked to see an eye specialist – he had met with an injury to the eye. He was told the expenses would be paid, and the examination was sought because they had received a report that the injury was not serious. Brown refused flatly to be 

The town clerk knew of one examination, in Scarborough, and he did not know that expenses were asked for or granted.

The Borough Engineer said that after the accident Brown was put to work which was given to old men, having a small hand cart, and sweeping up rubbish about the streets. This was given especially to the old men as a sort of pension instead of them being dismissed: the Corporation kept the old servants on in this way. Witness was quite satisfied that Brown was capable of working.

The real gist of the alterations in the working hours was that it took away Saturday afternoons.

Mr Scott: A man can see as well on the Saturday afternoon as in the morning? (Laughter).

Mr Smith: No.

Mr Scott: All the men did it, even the very oldest, and the only man not to do it was Brown?

Mr Smith: Yes.

Proceeding, Mr Smith said that Brown was at the time of the accident a stone breaker, and a chip of stone hit him in the eye. Since then he had had very much lighter work – a man had to work very hard to earn 19s a week at stone breaking. The judge had no sympathy with Brown in his refusal to accept work which was offered to him at the same rate of wages, and the same hours as before. Work would probably be offered again, and he could accept it if he liked, but he (the Judge) thought there was no obligation on either party to offer or accept. On the question of that action, which was for termination, he held he could not terminate it.

He therefore dismissed the application with costs on the usual scale.