§ MR. TAYLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the recent ballot that 263 has been taken by the miners employed at Messrs. A. Knowles and Company's collieries at Pendlebury and Pendleton on the question of contracting out of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1897; whether he is aware that on the Act coming into force the Registrar-General certified a scheme of contracting out, and that the men have been dissatsified ever since the scheme was certified; if he is aware that over 1,500 miners have expressed by ballot their wish to be placed under the provisions of the Compensation Act, and less than 300 were in favour of contracting out; and whether he will make inquiries with a view of giving effect to the wishes of the majority of workmen employed at those collieries.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. RITCHIE, Croydon)
I have received no representations on this subject from the miners, but since the hon. Member gave notice of his question I have made inquiries, and am informed that at a recent ballot of a section of the workers at these collieries a majority voted against the scheme which was certified in 1898 by the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies. The Compensation Act, however, provides, in cases where the workmen are dissatisfied with the working of any scheme, for an appeal to the Chief Registrar, and it appears to me that the proper course for them to take in the present instance is to ask him to examine into their complaint.