HC Deb 27 July 1896 vol 43 cc735-52

Where any matter in difference is referred to arbitration under the principal Act, a majority of the workmen employed in the mine to which the arbitration relates may, on giving such security, if any, as may appear to the arbitrators or umpire sufficient to provide for the costs, appoint any person to represent the workmen, or any class of them, on the arbitration, and any person so appointed shall be entitled to attend and take part in the proceedings of the arbitration to such extent and in such manner as the arbitrators or umpire may direct, and be subject to the same liability with respect to costs as if he were a party to the arbitration.

MR. W. ABRAHAM (Rhondda) moved to omit the words— on giving such security, if any, as may appear to the arbitrators or umpire sufficient to provide for the costs. He said that while it was true this clause gave the workmen what they had not had before, he was afraid the offer of representation was so hampered by conditions that the great majority of workmen of the United Kingdom would be prevented from being represented in this Court of Arbitration. It was in this Court of Arbitration that the proposals of the Home Secretary for the safeguarding the lives of miners had to be considered and approved. Whatever was found to be necessary for the safety of miners was not to be dealt with in the House of Commons, but in this Court of Arbitration. This Chamber would be constituted by the Mines Inspector, as representing the Home Office on the one hand and the mine-owners on the other hand, with power to appoint an umpire. It was necessary that the arbitrator should be a mining engineer, or a person acquainted with the working of the mines. Experience showed that the person usually chosen was a mining engineer. Although the principal Act said that the arbitrator was not to be a person interested in the mine, yet that provision was very easily and invariably got over. Rules had to be enacted for a certain mine, and one of the ablest men in the district was selected as arbitrator for the employer. But when the rules were made for that particular mine they were applicable for the whole district, and the gentleman who had been acting as arbitrator was oftentimes very largely interested in the other mines in the district. As a rule, the gentleman acting on the other side was a mining engineer and a friend of the mine owners. It was to this Court that the workmen were now seeking to get representation with heavy incumbrances and conditions and stumblingblocks. It was possible for the umpire to order one of the parties to pay the whole costs of the arbitration proceedings, and one of the conditions to the workmen being admitted to representation was that they must give security for all these costs, and then the gentleman appointed to represent them could only act under the direction of the arbitrator and umpire. For that meagre privilege the workmen's representative had also to give his personal security for the costs, just as if he were a party to the arbitration. He asked the House to kindly remove these obstacles—these unnecessary, unjust obstacles—in the way of workmen sending representatives to this Court. The proposal in the Bill must be modified, or only rich associations could find their way to the Court. It was only fair that the workmen whose lives were so precious should be represented there. It ought to be as easy for the workmen to make their views heard in these Courts as in the House of Commons. He might be told that once the workmen agreed to pay costs. Yes, their own costs—not all the costs of both parties—and they were prepared to do that again. In his opinion, the Home Secretary was taking a very dangerous course indeed in giving great power to modify the existing law; it almost invited a contest between some of the wealthiest institutions in Great Britain. The employers under the first clause might suggest to the Home Secretary certain changes in the existing rules—including even Rules 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.


The hon. Member is discussing the whole clause, whereas the only question before the House is whether security shall be given for costs by the representatives of the men.

MR. W. ABRAHAM (Rhondda)

said he was grateful to Mr. Speaker for his leniency, but he was simply endeavouring to explain the effect of his argument. He thought he had said enough, however, to show that, if the condition in the clause was really to be imposed, it would be inflicting a great hardship on miners, and prevent them attending the arbitration with the same freedom that their representatives attended the proceedings in that House. ["Hear, hear!"]


said that he had had some experience, when at the Bar, of the consequences of exacting security for costs from poor persons, and in his opinion, to require the representatives of the coal miners to find security for costs would be a denial of justice, and that such a condition would have the effect of making the clause a dead-letter. He knew that there was a strong feeling among his own constituents on the subject, and Mr. Abraham had not spoken at all too strongly, and it would be a considerable concession on the part of the Home Secretary if he accepted the Amendment of the hon. Member for Rhondda. ["Hear, hear!"]


said he would be glad to make a concession on the point if he could see his way, which he was unable to do. He was not altering the constitution of the Court, but giving the workmen a special right, which they had never had before, to appear before the Court. He did not draw the clause. It was drawn by representatives of the employers and employed in concert, and he accepted it, consenting to modify it so as to give the workmen a two-thirds majority. The clause was based on the model of a similar clause in the Factory Act, and in the administration of that Act there had been no complaint of the working of the clause. Nothing more was meant by the clause than that the arbitrator or umpire should have such security as he thought necessary for the costs, "if any." It was merely to guard those interested, and who might have to pay for an expensive arbitration, from its unnecessary prolongation by persons out of whom costs could not be got.

MR. ABEL THOMAS (Carmarthenshire, E.)

said he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider what he had said and accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Rhondda. Perhaps hon. Members might not have had his experience in arbitrations, which might be prolonged for days or even weeks. Under the clause the mine owner proposed special rules; the Home Secretary saw them, and decided whether he could accept them or not. If he did not accept them, then an arbitration took place, in order to see if they could be accepted. The mine owners had a right to propose something; the mine owners were not entitled to do so, but they could appear before the coal owners and the Home Secretary and say what objection they had to a particular rule; but it seemed hard that they could not come into Court without being under a liability to pay, it might be, heavy costs. It was certainly very hard upon the workmen that they should be compelled, in the event of their taking part in an arbitration, to pay every farthing of the costs in certain cases.


Of their own costs only.


said that if the Bill laid that principle down he should be quite satisfied. As he read the Bill, however, it gave the arbitrator power to order the men to give security for the whole costs of the arbitration. He thought that if hon. Members were aware of the hardships to which the workmen were exposed in these matters they would at once accept the Amendment.


hoped that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General would make it quite clear that the costs to which the work men were to be liabe were not to be the costs of the arbitration in cases where they only came in in order to protect their own interests, and that the only costs the men should be called upon to pay should be their own costs.


thought it rather hard upon his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that, this Bill having been sent down by a Standing Committee, he should be hold responsible for any proposal it might contain for imposing costs upon the workmen. His right hon. Friend had intimated to him that, as there might be some doubt as to the meaning of the clause, he was willing to accept a small Amendment which might clear up that doubt. He should therefore propose to amend the clause by inserting in line 5, after the word "costs," the words "occasioned by such representation," the object of which would be to insure that both the security and the liability should be limited to the costs occasioned by the separate representation of the workmen in the arbitration. That was a perfectly just proposal, because, if the workmen chose to come in and take part in the arbitration, they ought to bear the costs occasioned by their taking that action.


said that surely it would be unfair to compel the workmen to give security for the costs, while the masters were not required to do so. He asked the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary whether he could not consent to omit the word "security" altogether.

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR (Clackmannan and Kinross)

said that he thought that there was some danger that the requirements of "security" might be so interpreted as virtually to prohibit the workmen from taking part in the arbitration, notwithstanding they night deem their interests involved in it. He ventured to suggest to the Government whether the matter would not be sufficiently met by allowing a subsequent award of costs to be, made, and doing away with the antecedent security.

MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorgan, Mid)

hoped that the hon. Member for the Rhondda Division would not accept the Amendment suggested by the Attorney General. It would be an exceedingly dangerous Amendment. It would really indicate that the arbitrator ought in all cases to award the costs, against the persons who appeared upon the arbitration, occasioned by their representation. It had already been jointed out that, the coal miners themselves were not parties at all to the arbitration, although the Inquiry might, and did, deal with matters in which they were more deeply interested than anybody else. The sub-section of the original Act provided that the parties were deemed to be the owners, agent and manager on the one hand, and the Inspector of Mines on the other. The Bill provided that there might be representation of the workmen on the arbitration, and, if the words of the clause to which his hon. Friend objected were allowed to stand, the workmen would be put in an invidious and grossly unfair position. Although the arbitration dealt with matters in which they were deeply interested, they must be penalised, so to speak, before they were allowed to appear upon it at all, because they must, before such appearance could be made, first give security for costs. There were provisions of this kind known in the High Court where there were contentious cases, but it was only in the most extreme eases that security for costs was demanded. The effect of the section as it stood would be that the colliers would be told that before they could appear upon the arbitration they must enter into a good and valid bond in a sufficient amount to cover any possible costs occasioned by their representation. It was quite possible that they could not give security to this extent unless they went to a guarantee society. The clause, if allowed to stand as it now appeared, would put the workmen in a less favourable position with reference to arbitration than the mine owners.

MR. W. E. M. TOMLINSON (Preston)

observed that it was rather unfortunate that they were discussing the framing of this clause on the Report stage for the first time. It was framed by agreement between workmen and employers, and he would be quite disposed to accept any modification the Attorney General might suggest, for he admitted that it was not altogether aptly worded. He did not suppose that any hon. Member believed that employers wished to put the workmen in a worse position than that to which they were entitled. He understood it was only desired to guard against costs being unnecessarily incurred by workmen urging claims of an unsubstantial kind.

* MR. REGINALD McKENNA (Monmouth, N.)

considered that if the Attorney General looked at the terms of Clause 2 he would see the necessity of accepting the Amendment of the hon. Member for Rhondda. The power of the workman to attend the arbitration was such power only as was granted by the arbitrator or umpire. He was to take part in the arbitration to such an extent and in such a manner as the arbitrator or umpire should direct. That was to say the workman's representative was a sort of amicus curiœ, and there was no occasion for him to incur any liability for costs. If the arbitrator decided that the workman's representative was not there for good cause, he could dismiss him from the proceedings. He was not there in any sense as a party, and there was, therefore a distinct necessity for the Amendment.

MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

said the Attorney General had based his argument in favour of the clause and the modification he had suggested solely on the reasonableness of such costs being provided for. The Amendment was directed, not against the payment of such costs, but against security being provided beforehand for the payment of such costs. The argument of the Attorney General was not directed to the necessity of providing security in advance. It seemed to him that, instead of insisting on security being provided, the parties represented should give an undertaking to pay the costs if such costs were, in the result, awarded against them.


thought the suggestion of the Attorney General would have satisfied the hon. Member for Rhondda if he had to consider himself alone. For his part, he was very desirous that the workmen should have every facility for appearing at the arbitrations. This was the first time such an opportunity had been given them, and he would suggest that the Home Secretary should limit the amount of security for costs so that it would come within the means of any colliers who were appointed on the Arbitration Court. He considered that those who voted against the clause would be doing harm to the cause of the colliers.


said he hoped the Government would listen to the representations which had been made from that side of the House. He would remind the House that the workmen had, in the first instance, to combine before they could have a representation, and the majority was not likely to commit themselves to a course of this kind unless they had definitely and deliberately made up their minds that there was some important point which they desired to lay before the arbitrator. The Amendment of the Attorney General did not meet the whole case. The security the workmen would have to provide would be practically unlimited, and they could not expect that a body of poor men would be prepared in any and all circumstances to provide a security so large as the one evidently contemplated by the Bill. In order to meet the objections raised on that side of the House he would suggest that, instead of the words of the Attorney General, the words" of such representation "should be inserted. That would secure that the costs should be absolutely confined to the representation of the workmen.


said the intention of the clause was to follow the procedure in the Factory Act, 1894, in regard to the security for costs. He certainly could not accept the Amendment before the House. They wanted to secure that, if an arbitration was necessary, the application on the part of the workmen should be a bona fide one.


reminded the Home Secretary that what he contended for was that the workmen ought to pay their own costs in any event and always, but that was not what they were getting here.

MR. BENJAMIN PICK ARD (York, W. R., Normanton)

asked the Home Secretary if he meant that, when the workmen appeared on an arbitration, they were to pay simply their own costs, or part of the costs of others connected with the arbitration as well? If an inspector initiated an arbitration, and they were allowed to appear there and ask a few questions, would they be called upon to give security for the costs of that arbitration? They were quite willing to pay their own costs, and they were also quite willing, if they initiated an arbitration, to pay those costs too, if it went against them. But they thought they had no right to be called upon to give security while the colliery proprietor, who was very often represented by a man of straw, was not called upon to give security. If what he had indicated was what the Home Secretary meant, he hoped he would, later on, find words to meet the ease in point.


asked the Home Secretary whether he could not in some way limit the costs to which the workmen might be liable—if he was to say that they would be liable for costs not I exceeding £10 or £20 for their appearance? They were merely appearing in the capacity of watching the proceedings between the representative of the Home Secretary and the colliery owner. It-was only in the event of an inspector being of opinion that the colliery proprietor was not taking sufficient precaution for the protection of the lives and limbs of the men that this occasion would arise at all, and then the men had a perfect right to appear there, because they were more interested in the matter than anyone else. It would be quite as logical to ask the Queen's Proctor to be responsible for the costs of the divorce proceedings because he happened to appear in the Court to watch the differences between the parties. The second clause, it appeared to him, was very badly framed, and was most unjust to the men. It provided, in the first place, that the men should give security for costs, and then said that they should be entitled to appoint someone on their behalf, and that someone was also liable to pay the costs if he was called upon to do so.

MAJOR W YN DHAM-QUIN (Glamorgan, S.)

said he sympathised very deeply with the Amendment of his hon. Friend opposite. He could not help thinking that in many cases a great hardship would fall upon the colliers if, through their inability to bear what seemed to be an uncertain expenditure, they should therefore be debarred from coming forward and attending the arbitration. He thought it would be a wise course if the Home Secretary could see his way to accept the suggestion of his hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr, and if an arrangement could be made whereby the workmen's representative should feel himself responsible only for a certain amount of money. It would give him more confidence to come forward, and in many cases, therefore, the right man would be found in his place to represent the colliers.


desired to point out that, under the Act of 1887, the majority of the workmen in any mine had the power of appointing a representative to attend and put questions, and so forth, at a coroner's inquest. They paid no costs there, and yet they might prolong the inquiry to any extent, and put the employers and I others to very great expense. He did not say that that constituted a precedent for the present Amendment, but he would suggest that, if the Home Secretary would accept the Amendment, it would be a very small extension indeed of the powers that the workmen had now.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided:—Ayes, 150; Noes, 87.—(Division List, No. 350.)

On the return of Mr. SPEAKER, after the usual interval,


said that, in accordance with a pledge he gave, he now begged to move, to insert, after the word "costs," the following words, "occasioned by such representation." He understood that this arrangement would meet the views of the workmen, and it was a proposal which he thought ought to be accepted.


thought it ought to be "extra costs."


said that this Amendment would leave the door open for the incurring of great expenses by the workmen. There was practically before them an unlimited area of expense. Under these circumstances, bodies of workmen would be deterred from taking before the arbitrators even questions that should come before them. The hon. and learned Gentleman knew better than he did what was the difference between being represented and not being represented. He had often placed his clients in a very different position from what they would have been in if they had not had his aid. The limit now proposed would, as he had said, prevent the workmen from having recourse to those proper means of representation to which they were on every ground justly entitled in a matter which was to them of vital interest. He hoped the Attorney General would see to this. They had as much a right to be represented as the employers. What he asked was that they should be able to make their bargain beforehand with their representatives, so that they would know how much they would have to pay. Then they would know whether they could afford to go into the arbitration or not. He thought that that was a reasonable view to take of the case. He thought they ought not to penalise workmen in the way in which it was proposed to do in these clauses. Having regard to the important interests which were involved, and that this Amendment would cause a great number of workmen to lose privileges which they would otherwise enjoy, he trusted the Attorney General would reconsider the matter.

* MR. J. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts, Mansfield)

said that it was open to be argued that the words were so wide as to involve the whole costs of the arbitration. This would be to place the workmen in a most invidious position. The workmen were comparatively poor, while the employers were rich, and, therefore, if any advantage were to be given, it should be in favour of the workmen rather than the employers.

MR. JOHN WILSON (Durham, Mid)

hoped the Attorney General would give some further information, as the words were so full of doubt. What was the meaning of "occasioned"? If the workmen considered their interests were involved so as to call for arbitration, would all the costs be "occasioned "by their representation? ["Hear, hear!"] No matter how long the case might be delayed, the costs would be "occasioned" by their representation. He thought that the effect of this would be to prevent them going on.

MR. W. ABRAHAM (Glamorgan, Rhondda)

said some words should be inserted to prevent what was apprehended.

* MR. JOHN WILSON (Falkirk Burghs)

said, it should be distinctly known that the arbitration was between the mine owner and the Crown alone, and that the workmen need only be represented if they thought fit. The costs therefore to them would only be the costs caused by such representation. He hoped the Home Secretary would adhere to his Amendment.


said they were all agreed on that side of the House as on the other that the Attorney General and the Home Secretary showed every disposition to meet the difficulty. Arbitration was not the best way of dealing with the matter. ["Hear, hear!"] If the matter were decided, as it ought to be decided, by the Homo Secretary, the question of costs would not arise. ["Hear, hear!"] Under such a system the mine owners would be heard, the inspectors would be heard, the workmen would be heard; and it would have this further advantage—that the workmen would incur no costs whatever in looking after matters that vitally concerned them. ["Hear, hear!"]

Amendment agreed to.

MR. PRITCHARD MORGAN moved to add, after the words last inserted in the clause, the words "not exceeding the sum of twenty pounds." Unless some limit were placed to the amount of security for costs which the arbitrator might require the workmen to enter into, it would be possible for an unfriendly arbitrator, by fixing a large sum, to prevent the workmen from appearing in these disputes, in which the safety of their lives and limbs were concerned.


said that if the Amendment were accepted it would be a direction to the arbitrator that security for costs should be given in all cases. In his opinion it would be wiser, in the interest of the workmen, that it should be left to the discretion of the arbitrator to say in each case, "This is a proper case for the workmen to appear in, and no security need be given," or, "This is not a case for the workmen to appear in, and if they do appear security must be given."


said the arbitrator would not admit the workmen's representatives unless he thought it was right and proper that they should be present at the hearing of the dispute. Therefore, the question of security for costs would only arise in cases where, in the opinion of the arbitrator, the workmen ought to be allowed to appear; but, unless the amount of security were limited, it might happen that the workmen would be deterred from appearing.


said that in all bona fide cases the arbitrator would be able to say, as the clause stood, that he would not require any security for costs from the workmen. But, in cases where an attempt was made to bring before the Court issues of a frivolous nature, it was right that the arbitrator should have the power to require security for costs.


thought the Amendment ought to be accepted. If it were refused, it might appear to the; workmen that they were being dissuaded from appearing in those arbitrations. But, instead of being dissuaded from appearing, they ought to be persuaded to appear. The object aimed at should be to have the best possible rules for the safety of the lives and limbs of the workmen brought into operation. The workmen had a far larger and more serious interest in the matter than the owners. The owners' interest was of a pecuniary nature; but the workmen risked their lives and limbs every day entering the bowels of the earth to work out the coal. This proposal was not one for the limitation of the costs against the workmen, but merely for the limitation of the security for costs. He himself thought that a £10 limit would be high enough. The hon. Member who had last spoken could not quote a case where the workmen had appeared in these cases vexatiously.


thought that the practice of arbitrators would be to require in all cases the £20 security for costs. The whole point of both sides would be met if some proviso were inserted to the effect that no security for costs should be required if, in the judgment of the arbitrator, the intervention of the workmen was reasonable.

MR. W. ABRAHAM (Rhondda)

said that when the Home Secretary proposed any special rules, the workmen and employers concerned would meet together to consider them. The point on which alone they would disagree would be the most essential point of all—namely, the mode of carrying out the rules. In case of disagreement the men ought to be in the same position a" the masters for the purpose of appearing before the Arbitration Court. The employers were required to give no security; and what the workmen asked was that the way should be made easy for them to go before the Court, because, after all, it was their lives that were at stake.


thought the Amendment was most reasonable. He had known cases in which, owing to a large sum being required for security for costs, there had been a practical denial of justice. He should like to put the two parties on the same footing.


thought the Amendment was absolutely necessary. If no limit were imposed, the clause would be absolutely worthless for the workmen in whose interest it was devised.


appealed to the Attorney General whether he could not accept the suggestion of his hon. Friend with regard to limiting the costs to £20. Let the Government give them some limiting concession, so that the workmen would not be prevented from entering the Court.


said he was perfectly willing to consider the question.


suggested that all that was necessary was that something should be required which would be a guarantee of good faith.


was certain his constituents would much prefer that the security should be limited to £20, even if it was made absolute, than that it should be left to the discretion of the arbitrator in the way suggested.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The House divided:—Ayes, 91; Noes, 171.—(Division List, No. 351.)

MR. SAMUEL EVANS moved to omit the words— to such extent and in such manner as the arbitrators or umpire may direct. These words, he argued, invited them practically to place a limitation on the appearance of the workmen's representatives in these arbitrations. The Amendment was founded on the contention that there ought not to be any inequality at all between the position of the employers and employed in these arbitrations. The owner, agent, or manager of a mine was allowed to go into the arbitration without any kind of fetter or limitation. These; words were entirely unnecessary, and the arbitrators or umpires would be able to judge as to the proper limits within which the workmen's representatives should be kept. In the Act relative to coroners' inquests in the case of accidents in coal mines, the men were at liberty to appoint any person by the ordinary right of the majority of the workmen. The words, he thought, would be mischievous in their operation.


said he was sorry these invidious Amendments were being moved to a clause which was not only settled in the Grand Committee, but before it went to the Grand Committee, and had been accepted by himself as an agreed clause. If hon. Gentlemen desired to delay the progress of this Bill—[cries of " No!"and Ministerial cheers]—he declined to meet their objections. He could not accept the Amendment, the words which were proposed to be omitted being identical with those in the Factory Act, and he hoped the House would support him in resisting the proposal.


sincerely hoped that this Bill, properly amended, would become law, and he had no intention to obstruct it. He ventured to think that hon. Members on that side of the House who had spoken, and who were interested in mining constituencies, had no other object but to make the Bill a better one than it was. He was convinced that the Home Secretary had had nothing to do with the drawing up of this particular clause, and he exonerated him from any attempt to take advantage of anybody. The miners were allowed to appear on finding security that any costs incurred by their appearance at the arbitration, the Home Secretary's costs, and the owner's costs, should be paid by them—that was the position. These words meant that, in regard to the appearance of the workmen's representatives the arbitrator would have more than the ordinary discretion of an arbitrator or umpire. The clause had not been drafted by lawyers, but by gentlemen who, whilst they knew, no doubt, what the interests of the workmen were, had but little practical knowledge of drafting. These words could have no other meaning except that they gave to the umpire or arbitrator the right to say to the workmen, "You cannot be allowed to discuss this or that matter; it does not concern you at all." At the same time the workmen might have to pay the whole costs of the proceedings. Wishing this to be made a workable Bill, he begged the Home Secretary to reconsider his position.


asked what reason there could be for placing employers on a different footing from the employed? These words would leave it in the power of the umpires to shut the door against the workmen, and to say, "We do not intend to hear you at all."


said that a number of questions might be referred, and that in some of these the workmen might be interested and in others not. It was but fair that the tribunal should be at liberty to say to the workmen, "You can be heard on this point or on that point because you are interested in it, but we cannot allow you to be heard on points in which you have no interest. "It should be borne in mind that the workmen were being allowed to go into the arbitration as third parties, which was an unusual course. In this matter the Government were following the analogy of the Factory Acts, which contained provisions which permitted the representatives of the workmen to appear when rule's were; to be made by the Home Office and the employers, and to be heard upon matters in which the workmen were interested upon terms which were the same as those; now proposed. It was thought that under that legislation the workmen's representatives ought not to have a roving commission. He denied that, in a case where a person had a good title; to appear before an umpire, the umpire would have power to order him out of Court.


observed that the Attorney General had said that an umpire would have no power, if these words were omitted, to limit the representatives of the workmen, who might travel into fields entirely foreign to the workmen's interests. But the House had already sanctioned the principle of security, leaving its application entirely in the discretion of the arbitrators, and in these circumstances the arbitrators would have in their hands the most powerful weapon possible. He held that these words were unnecessary and unfair to the workmen.

MR. STUART-WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

pointed out that in the Act regulating coroners' inquests in cases of fatal accidents in coal mines, there were words providing that all appearances and the conduct of such appearances should be subject to the order of the coroner. Those words applied to and controlled all appearances, not only on behalf of the workmen and the relatives of the deceased, but also on behalf of the owners.


said that an hon. Member on his side of the House had remarked that this clause had been drafted by gentlemen who knew nothing about drafting. At any rate, they knew something about the working of miners underground, and they understood the interests of the men. If this clause militated against the interests of the men, the representatives of the miners would be the last persons to defend it. But the Amendment had been fully discussed; so had the clause, and the wording had been agreed to. When it was seen, therefore, that the majority of the miners' representatives in the House were agreed as to the formation, construction, and tendency of the clause, he thought it would be compatible with the best interests of the men if they were allowed to offer guidance in this matter, and to be allowed to accept this Bill, not as a full payment of what they considered to be the safety of the miners, but as a large instalment tending in that direction. No man had more regard than he had to the fact that the miners were not so fully represented on the Boards as they ought to be; but he was prepared to acknowledge that there might be matters that came within the arbitration of the Board in which the men had a small interest, and that there were matters in which the arbitrators should have the power to say whether the workmen should take a share in them or not. As it was understood the House should get this Bill through with as little contention as possible, and as the Home Secretary had met their claims largely in the direction of safety, he suggested that the clause might now be allowed to pass. He should not like to see the Bill jeopardised. He was confident that the miners of the country, even with the clause as it stood, would not repudiate it, but, on the contrary, would welcome it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5,—