§ MR. S. WOODS (Lancashire, Ince)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the circumstances in connection with the appointment of a check weighman at the Ashton's Green Colliery, Parr, St. Helen's, on 23rd April 1895; whether he is aware that, after the miners had had a meeting and passed a unanimous resolution to elect a checkweighman by ballot, in accordance with the provisions of the Coal Mines Regulation Act 1887, and also had appointed two of their number to conduct 100 the ballot, the top manager refused to allow these men to go on the pit bank; that the manager of the colliery, Mr. Thomas Pennington, interfered and urged the men, in contravention of the Act of Parliament, to decide the matter by a show of hands; and that this is the first attempt in the county of Lancashire of a colliery manager to interfere with the appointment of a checkweighman; and whether, in view of the fact that the miners are dissatisfied with this interference, and with a view of giving satisfaction, he will cause a thorough investigation into the circumstances under which Henry Pennington was alleged to be appointed as checkweighman at this colliery?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. H. H. ASQUITH, Fife, E.)
The Mines Inspector has investigated this matter. He finds that it is the case that the top manager refused to allow the men who were appointed to hold the ballot to go on the pit bank, on the ground that they were strangers and not employed in the colliery. I have not been informed, as a fact, whether this is so, but I am informed that the top manager assigned it as his reason for acting as he did. The manager says that he did not interfere with the men or urge them to decide the matter by a show of hands, but, on being asked, he expressed an opinion that this might be done. The Inspector has now called attention to the provisions of Section 14 of The Coal Mines Regulation Act, and it has been arranged that a fresh election shall be held by ballot. The employer has undertaken not to place any difficulty in the way of such an election.