§ MR. J. CALDWELL (Mid Lanark)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the case of John Dykes, who had within the last two months been duly appointed check-weighman by the miners at Bellfield Colliery, Coalburn, Lanarkshire, belonging to William Barr and Sons, but whom the manager, Robert Leggat, had refused and still refuses, to allow to enter upon his duties, although expressing willingness to recognise any other checkweighman whom the miners might appoint; whether he is aware that at this same colliery two years ago this same checkweighman was refused, and that this refusal was urged as one of the reasons for passing the Checkweighman's Act of last Session, and also that in order to avoid this particular checkweighman the manager has altered the payment of the men from that of per ton weight to that of per fathom measurement; whether he will order a prosecution on the ground of there having been a violation or evasion of the Act; and whether he will also consider the expediency of cancelling or suspending the certificates of colliery managers who may be guilty of obstructive violations of the Check weighman's Act?
THE UNDER SECRETARY FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. GEORGE RUSSELL,) North Beds
The 1539 Secretary of State's attention was called last month to a complaint in this matter, and he was informed by the gentleman who made it that he had laid it before the Inspector, and that it might result in a prosecution; and he was requested to consider the expediency of causing the certificates of managers to be suspended in such cases. He has not heard again from the gentleman, but he caused the Inspectors to make a report to him upon the case, which shows that the facts are complicated, and that some of them are disputed. The papers have been placed in the hands of the Scotch Law Officers with a view to a prosecution if they consider that there is a legal case for one. The question of cancellation of certificates cannot arise under Section 27 of the Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1887 until there has been a conviction.