§ MR. LEAKE (Lancashire, S.E., Radcliffe)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he is aware that at the Stopes Colliery, Little Lever, near Bolton, belonging to Messrs. Fletcher and Sons, the workmen are 1029 required to saw, at the pit brow, their own timber for propping, and to send it down the shaft to the working places; whether such a practice is a breach of Rule 22, Section 49, of the Coal Mines Regulation, &c., Act, which sets forth thatWhere the timbering of the working places is done by the workmen employed therein, suitable timber shall be provided at the working place gate end, pass by, siding, or other similar place in the mine convenient to the workmen;whether, under Section 42, it is the duty of the Inspector to give notice in writing of such a practice to the owner, agent, or manager of the mine, and to require the same to be remedied; and, if a remedy be not provided, to report to the Secretary of State; whether any Report has been made to him of this case; and, whether he can suggest a remedy for the grievance of which complaint is made?
§ THE SECRETARY of STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
Yes, Sir; I understand that at the Stopes Colliery the colliers cut their own props, which are then marked and forwarded by the owners to their destination. The statute, as I read it, only makes it incumbent that, in fact, suitable timber shall be provided at the working places; but is silent as to the persons by whom, and the manner in which, that timber shall be prepared and selected. The duty of the inspector is, as stated, where he finds anything dangerous or defective in the mine. No Report has been made to me under that section; but I have received a detailed Report from the Inspector as to the practice complained of. It seems to me that the difficulty can only be solved by arrangement between employers and employed.
§ MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)
asked, whether it was not the intention of Parliament to throw the responsibility upon the mine-owner; and, if that was not the intention, whether the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared to take such steps as might be necessary to make the men in the mines perfectly secure?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
said, the Act as it stood made the owner liable to a penalty if the timber was not provided; but the rest was purely a matter of contract.
§ In answer to a further Question from Mr. FENWICK,1030