HC Deb 23 November 1911 vol 31 cc1415-27

(1) A person shall not, after the first day of January nineteen hundred and thirteen, be qualified to be appointed or to be a fireman, examiner, or deputy unless he—

  1. (a) is twenty-five years of age or upwards, or is the holder of a first or second-class certificate of competency; and
  2. (b) has had at least five years' practical experience underground in a mine, of which not less than two years shall be at the face of the workings of a mine; and
  3. (c) has obtained a certificate from a mining school or other institution or authority approved by the Secretary of State as to his ability to make accurate tests so far as practicable with a safety lamp, for inflammable gas, and to measure the quantity of air in an air current and that his hearing is such as to enable him to carry out his duties efficiently; and
  4. (d) has within the preceding five years obtained from such approved school, institution, or authority as aforesaid, or from a duly qualified medical practitioner, a certificate in the prescribed form to the effect that his eyesight and hearing are such as to enable him to carry out his duties efficiently, the expense of obtaining which shall, in the case of a person employed at the time as fireman, examiner, or deputy, be borne by the owner of the mine:

Provided that—

  1. (i) the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) shall not apply to any person employed as a fireman, examiner, or deputy at the date of the passing of this Act; and
  2. (ii) a person shall not be required to obtain a certificate as to ability to 1416 make tests for inflammable gas or as to eyesight if he is employed in a mine in which inflammable gas is unknown.

(2) The certificate as to the eyesight and hearing of a fireman, examiner, or deputy employed in a mine shall, whilst he is so employed, be deposited with the manager, who shall, whenever required to do so by an inspector, produce the certificate for his inspection.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "first day of January, nineteen hundred and thirteen," and to insert instead thereof the words "expiration of twelve months from the coming into operation of this Act."

This Clause relates to the qualifications of firemen examiners, and deputies. My Amendment is simply to postpone the time when the new qualifications will come into operation. The Amendment is necessary on account of the Bill having been postponed to this late period of the Session. When the Bill was first introduced the time was twelve months after the Bill came into operation. It will be the same under my Amendment. I see that the Under-Secretary is going to propose later an Amendment that the Bill should come into operation on 1st July next, and my Amendment is that this qualification should not operate for twelve months after that time. It is very necessary, because it will be unjust to the deputies concerned, as well as most inconvenient to the managers, if they have to make these alterations suddenly. Time must be given in order that the qualifications can be obtained.


I beg to Second the Amendment.


All of us have desired for some time that these officials should qualify. May I ask when the Bill is to come into operation? The Under-Secretary has an Amendment down that the Bill is to come into operation on 1st July next year.


In any case that is not quite relevant to this Amendment, because the words the hon. Member proposes to leave out have nothing to do with the date upon which the Bill comes into operation. The Clause says the first day of January, 1913. I have been through all the various Amendments dealing with times and dates, and I hope I shall be able to satisfy hon. Members with regard to that. In this case I suggest there is no need to press the Amendment, for this reason: it does not depend upon the time of the commencement of the operation of the Act, and therefore there is no need to change the date. The time given for this qualification depends upon the time when the men know that they will have to get it. From this December everyone will know that they will have to obtain a certificate. A year is very full time for that. I am told that already the various mining colleges are making the necessary arrangements so that the men will be able to get their certificates in time. If we have men working as firemen and deputies in the mines who are unable to obtain a certificate, that is a danger to the men, and the sooner we require that they shall be qualified the sooner the men will be free from the danger.


I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), paragraph (a), to leave out the words "is twenty-five years of age or upwards, or."

This Amendment, with two consequential Amendments, will have this effect. Under the Bill as it stands now it will be impossible for a man who has obtained his certificate when he was twenty-three years of age to act as a fireman or deputy until he is twenty-five. It was thought in the Grand Committee that it was very undesirable that the young man who had just got his certificate at twenty-three years of age should be practically thrown on his own resources, with nothing useful to do, until the time when he should be qualified to act as manager of a mine. That is what would happen under this Clause, because a young man who obtains a certificate of qualification by attending a mining school, and who therefore has three years' experience, would foe disqualified because of the wording of paragraph (b), which says that he must have had five years' practical experience.

5.0 P.M.


I beg to second the Amendment. Here we have the case of a young man of twenty-three obtaining his first-class certificate and having his time unoccupied, waiting until such time as he is able to act under the present Clause. It is certainly very desirable, and it is quite in the same lines as almost any other profession, that a man who has a certificate, while he is not entitled to the chief post, is certainly entitled to a minor post where he has men over him to see that he does his work. It is a perfectly proper course, and it is an inducement to young men to get that certificate, because they are not entitled to act as managers until they are twenty-five.


This is a small point which arose on the Committee stage of the Bill by a change which allowed a manager to obtain his certificate at the age of twenty-three, but not to act as a manager until twenty-five. Under these circumstances what are the young men who obtain certificates of competency going to do between the two years? It is much better that they should be working in the mine and obtaining still further experience than spending their time in voyages round the world or visits to London on deputations to the Home Office. If a young man has obtained his certificate of competency fitting him for a manager, he is fit to take the place of a deputy or fireman. I am willing to accept the Amendment.


It is perfectly obvious whom the Under-Secretary has in his mind when he speaks of young men who obtain a certificate at twenty-three years having no other way of occupying their time than by voyages round the world. He is clearly not thinking of the sons of working men. The point of view that the miners hold is that twenty-five is an early enough age at which a man should have the responsibility which managership casts upon him. The two years between twenty-three and twenty-five, in the case of a working collier who has his certificate, would be filled in by useful work in the pit, thereby acquiring extra experience necessary to qualify him for his position. If the Amendment is being accepted in the interests of those who will have nothing to do between the ages of twenty-three and twenty-five except going voyages round the world, that is surely a good reason for opposing it from these benches.

Mr. W. ABRAHAM (Rhondda)

I hope the Home Secretary is not going to accept this Amendment. Comparing a managership in other trades with the managership of a colliery is very illusory indeed. For managing a colliery practical experience is required, and we miners are against the idea of placing men too young in that position at all, and without having any wish to keep back or do an injury to any young men we honestly believe that this will give them the extra qualification, and will place them in a better position and make them more competent. The more experience he gets the better he will be at managing the colliery. It will be better for the owners and better for the workmen too. If the Government accept the Amendment we shall have to take this to a Division.


I am sorry to differ from the hon. Gentleman, but it is rather absurd to expect a man to have the same qualifications for a deputy that he is to have for manager of a pit. He has only to be twenty-five years of age in order to be qualified to manage a colliery, and yet it is insisted on that he must be equally old only to be a fireman. If he has taken a certificate at twenty-three, and aspires at twenty-five to take charge of a colliery, I believe the lives of the men will be much more secure by allowing him to act for two years as a fireman before he takes a managership at twenty-five, after he has his certificate and his experience of the duties of a manager which he gets by being a fireman, than if he went straight into the position of manager without the previous experience.


It was an unfortunate remark of the Under-Secretary to talk of young men travelling round the world. I do not know of a single man who has ever filled the position of a deputy or examiner of any mine who has had sufficient money to be able to travel round the world. This question is one which affects working men only because well-to-do people do not take the position of deputy or fireman. What is the position? A young man goes into the mine at sixteen or seventeen, and gets a certificate at twenty-three. He has had his scientific training, and you are going to say that, although he has had a scientific education and obtained this difficult certificate, for two years he is not to earn a shilling unless he works in the pit. You are going to shut this man out, who has probably done years of hard work. I shall certainly support the Amendment, and I hope the Government will stick to what they have said.

Viscount WOLMER

I think the opposition of the Labour party to this is provoked by the unfortunate remark of the Under-Secretary with regard to tours round the world. It seems to me to be an interference on the part of the House to keep a man, who has qualified and obtained his certificate, in idleness for two years when he might, as a deputy, have the best possible opportunities of learning the duties of a manager. There is no position in the mine in which a man can get so much experience as a deputy, and as the Clause stands he would be prohibited from getting that experience. I hope the Government will persist in their attitude.


The hon. Baronet spoke about a particular kind of experience being required. On the very first Amendment I moved this afternoon I am bound to say the Under-Secretary had a very strong answer to make, that the particular qualifications required by a manager or under-manager were essentially different from those required by a fireman. The fireman is a man who must of necessity, if he is a good fireman, make himself acquainted from day to day with all the actual working conditions of a mine. To be effective he must have undergone a long experience, and he must really have qualified himself in every way to make a faithful report in the report book. These qualifications are not the same. But when we say that young men who are really to be the eyes and ears of the mine, because that is the vocation to which the fireman submits himself, must at least be twenty-five years of age, we are simply following the ordinary laws of human experience, for two or three years in the acquisition of this most important essential make all the difference. It is not the case that a man to become a fireman must possess a first or a second-class certificate of proficiency. He need only acquire the special qualifications which are mentioned in paragraphs (c) and (d) plus the practical experience that we say is absolutely necessary. Two added years make inevitably for increased efficiency. A man widens his area of knowledge, and sees many things which he had not seen before. He is able to add two more years of real experience to that which he had already gained, and it is because after all it is true that these are the most important men in the pit, that upon their efficiency in carrying out their functions depends in the highest degree the safety of the mine, that we say that it is a step in the wrong direction altogether to lessen the time necessary for the proper performance and fulfilment of their duties. I do not know that in the Committee upstairs there was a single suggestion made from our side of a willingness to lessen the time required in this particular case, and although I should be the very last person in the world to say that the Under-Secretary's memory is defective, I do not remember, having paid very considerable attention, that the Under-Secretary himself had made such a promise. Though a young person might have become very highly qualified technically, passed all the requisite examinations, and taken a good degree at his university, or a diploma at his mining school, and passed an examination at twenty-three for a manager, that does not qualify him to act as a fireman. Every man who is engaged in the work of fireman has an enormously important daily function imposed upon him. It has been suggested in this House that the qualification for the suffrage might be raised from twenty-one to twenty-five years of age, and surely that suggestion is only based upon the ground that experience, knowledge, and efficiency come with years. I think we are, not overstating our case when we say that the increasing dangers of the mines brought about by the mechanical and scientific developments of late years have rendered greater experience on the part of officials all the more necessary. The horrible loss of life which has resulted in late years in the mining industry, and the tremendous outpouring of public sympathy on the occurrence of a disaster makes it necessary that this House shall take no step backward, but shall see that the responsible officials connected with the mines shall at least have the experience which is required to enable them to carry out their functions properly. We shall resist any reduction of the age limit in this case.


I would support the protest of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway if I in any way thought that this Amendment would allow a manager who passes an examination to become a fireman, but my recollection of what took place in the Committee is that that is not so. In order to be quite certain in this matter, I have refreshed my memory, and I will read Clause 9, Sub-section (1), paragraph (b). It provides: That no person shall be qualified to be an applicant for a certificate unless he is twenty-three years of age or upwards and has had such practical experience in mining (either in the United Kingdom or partly in the United Kingdom and partly elsewhere) as may be required by the rules for a period of not less than five years, except in the case of an applicant who has received an approved diploma, or has taken an approved degree, in which case the period shall be a period of not less than three years. Therefore it is absolutely clear that any person who desires to qualify himself and obtain a certificate for the position of manager must have spent either three or five years in practical experience in a mine. That being so, if a man has three or five years' practical experience and has obtained the qualifying diploma to become a manager, can it be contended that that person is not qualified to become a fireman? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Rhondda Valley (Mr. Abraham) said he desired that managers should have every possible experience they could obtain. I quite agree with him. I think a man who is to be in the position of manager will be all the better manager if he thoroughly understands the business he is to superintend. If he has been brought up to work in that business, he will probably understand it more than if he has simply passed an examination. Therefore, the practical effect of being two years a fireman does give the manager the experience which the right hon. Gentleman desires he should have. It seems, to me that the right hon. Gentleman is mistaken in thinking that this Amendment in any way does away with the experience which he and I believe a manager ought to have. Supposing I am right in that contention, the only possible argument that could be used against the Amendment would be that this qualified manager of twenty-three years of age was qualified, not because he had practical experience, but because he had passed an examination. I have shown that he is obliged to have practical experience before he gets a certificate. Therefore, under these circumstances, the difficulties which have been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Rhondda Valley and the hon. Member for the Ince Division (Mr. Walsh) do not apply to this particular case. I am afraid hon. Members below the Gangway have been a little bit led away by what the Under-Secretary said. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Then why did the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Keir Hardie) begin talking about the sons of working men. It has nothing to do with the sons of working men. Our desire is to get competent men.


Another Amendment on the Paper, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Sheffield, would impose the twenty-five years' age limit on the sons of working men. The object of the Amendment we are now discussing is to bring in men two years earlier.


Does the hon. Member say that a man who is qualified and has obtained a certificate cannot become a fireman because his father is a working man?


Unless he holds a first-class certificate, that is so.


That is the whole contention. I am contending that if a man holds a first-class certificate he ought to be allowed to become a fireman. I feel sure that, no hon. Member on the other side of the House can traverse such a reasonable proposition. I trust the House will see that the Amendment ought to be accepted.


I think this is somewhat of a controversy between theoretical training and practical training. I am not quite sure that I agree with the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil as to the object of the Amendment. I would prefer to give the Mover and Seconder credit for a little better intention, bait if the hon. Member says that the practical working out of the Amendment will be as he indicated, I rather agree with him. The effect of the alteration undoubtedly would be in almost every case that a working youth would wait until he was twenty-five years of age, and that those who would get the benefit of the proposed reduction in age would

be the sons of middle-class parents who were giving them more or less a theoretical training. I would appeal to Members of the House to remember that the object of this Bill is to enable miners to feel more comfortable as regards their own safety when in the mines. Surely they will feel more safe if the older men are performing the responsible duties of firemen. We are aiming at satisfying the miners in this matter, and it is quite clear that if this Amendment were carried there would be uneasiness caused among the miners of the country.


I understand that twenty-five years is an alternative. Unless a man is twenty-five years of age, or is the holder of a first or second-class certificate of competency, he cannot undertake the duties of fireman. If a man is twenty-five years of age, or has a first or second-class certificate, it appears to me that fulfils the conditions. The Clause does not say that he has to be twenty-five years of age and possess a certificate. I take it that if he has a certificate of competency at twenty-three he can act. I do not see what the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Samuel Roberts) is driving at.


If a man has a diploma he will not necessarily require to have more than three years' practical experience.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 88; Noes, 203.

Division No. 403.] AYES. [5.30 p.m.
Adamson, William Glanville, H. J. Neville, Reginald J. N.
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Goldstone, Frank Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)
Atherley-Jones, Llewelyn A. Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) O'Grady, James
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough) Palmer, Godfrey
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Hall, Frederick (Normanton) Parker, James (Halifax)
Barnes, George N. Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Pointer, Joseph
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.) Pollard, Sir George H.
Bethell, Sir J. H. Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Booth, Frederick Handel Hayward, Evan Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Bcwerman, C. W. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Raphael, Sir Herbert H.
Brace, William Henry, Sir Charles S. Rendall, Athelstan
Burn, Col. C. R. Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor Richards, Thomas
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Hudson, Walter Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Clynes, John R. John, Edward Thomas Rowlands, James
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Jowett, F. W. Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Crooks, William Kellaway, Frederick George Snowden, P.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Kilbride, Denis Spicer, Sir Albert
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) King, J. (Somerset, N.) Sutton, John E.
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Lansbury, George Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Elverston, Sir Harold Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Thomas, J. H. (Derby)
Esslemont, George Birnie Martin, J. Thorne, William (West Ham)
Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles Mason, David M. (Coventry) Wadsworth, J.
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Millar, James Duncan Walters, John Tudor
Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wardle, George J.
Gill, A. H. Neilson, Francis Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay.
Watt, Henry A. Wilson, John (Durham, Mid) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Whitehouse, John Howard Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton) Walsh and Mr. William Abraham (Rhondda).
Wilkie, Alexander Yate, Col. C. E.
Williams, J. (Glamorgan) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Falconer, J. Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.
Acland, Francis Dyke Falle, Bertram Godfray Nannetti, Joseph P.
Addison, Dr C. Ferens, T. R. Newdegate, F. A.
Agnew, Sir George William Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward Nield, Herbert
Aitken, Sir William Max Forster, Henry William Nolan, Joseph
Alden, Percy Foster, Philip Staveley Norman, Sir Henry
Amery, L. C. M. S. Gardner, Ernest Norton, Captain Cecil W.
Anderson, A. George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Gibson, Sir James P. O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Gilmour, Captain J. O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Ashley, W. W. Gladstone, W. G. C. O'Sullivan, Timothy
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Goldman, C. S. Parkes, Ebenezer
Baird, J. L. Goulding, Edward Alfred Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington) Grant, J. A. Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.) Greene, W. R. Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Balcarres, Lord Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke Pirle, Duncan V.
Baldwin, Stanley Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Power, Patrick Joseph
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hackett, J. Pringle, William M. R.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Hall, Marshall (L'pool, E. Toxteth) Pryce-Jones, Col. E.
Barton, W. Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Radford, G. H.
Bathurst, Charles (Wilton) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Rawson, Colonel R. H.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Benn, Ion H. (Greenwich) Harris, Henry Percy Reddy, Michael
Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George) Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.) Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Boland, John Plus Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Remnant, James Farquharson
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Haworth, Sir Arthur A. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Bridgeman, William Clive Helmsley, Viscount Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Bryce, J. Annan Henderson, Major H. (Berks., Abingdon) Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Bull, Sir William James Hickman, Col. Thomas E. Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Higham, John Sharp Roche, John (Galway, E.)
Butcher, John George Hill, Sir Clement L. Roe, Sir Thomas
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Hills, J. W. Rothschild, Lionel de
Byles, Sir William Pollard Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Rowntree, Arnold
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Hughes, S. L. Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Hunter, W. (Govan) Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Sanders, Robert A.
Cassel, Felix Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.) Sanderson, Lancelot
Castlereagh, Viscount Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) Scanlan, Thomas
Cautley, H. S. Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Sheehy, David
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Sherwell, Arthur James
Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood) Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney) Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Chancellor, H. G. Joyce, Michael Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Chapple, Dr. W. A. Joynson-Hicks, William Stanier, Beville
Clough, William Kennedy, Vincent Paul Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston.)
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Summers, James Woolley
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Kirkwood, J. H. M. Swift, Rigby
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lambert, G. (Devon, S. Molton) Talbot, Lord E.
Cory, Sir Clifford John Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle) Tennant, Harold John
Cotton, William Francis Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Terrell, H. (Gloucester)
Cowan, W. H. Levy, Sir Maurice Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Cripps, Sir C. A. Lewis, John Herbert Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Crumley, Patrick Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee Valentia, Viscount
Davies, Timothy (Lincs, Louth) Lowe, Sir F. W. (Edgbaston) Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Lyell, Charles Henry Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Dawes, J. A. Lynch, A. A. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
De Forest, Baron Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.) Weigall, Capt. A. G.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Macpherson, James Ian Wiles, Thomas
Denniss, E. R. B. MacVeagh, Jeremiah Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Devlin, Joseph M'Callum, John M. Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worc, N.)
Dillon, John McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Wolmer, Viscount
Donelan, Captain A. M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Doris, W. M'Micking, Major Gilbert Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Worthington-Evans, L.
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Mason, James F. (Windsor) Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
Essex, Richard Walter Masterman, C. F. G.
Eyres-Monsell, B. M. Mooney, J. J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Munro, R. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.

Amendments made: At end of paragraph (a) leave out "and (b)," and insert instead thereof the words "or is twenty-five years of age or upwards and."—[Mr. S. Roberts.]


I beg to propose, in paragraph (b), after the word "at," to insert the word "about."

The experience of an actual coal face is not the most useful for a fireman, because he has to look after timbering and other matters as well, the knowledge of which is quite as useful to a fireman as the physical act of getting coal.


I would ask my hon. Friend not to press this Amendment. These were the words actually suggested by people speaking for the same association as he speaks for. The Amendment was agreed to in Committee by general consent without a Division. "About the face" is rather a vague phrase, and may extend beyond what we intend. The fireman, whose office is to detect danger, should have had experience at the working face, where the greatest danger is.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Further Amendments made: In paragraph (d) omit the words "and hearing are," and insert instead thereof the words "is such as to enable him to make accurate tests for inflammable gas, and that his hearing is."

In paragraph (i) omit the words "and (b)." Omit the word "paragraphs" and insert instead thereof the word "paragraph."—[Mr. Masterman.]


I beg to propose in paragraph (i) to leave out the word "passing" and to insert instead thereof the words "coming into operation."

If the present words stand no time will be given to make necessary arrangements, because the Bill will be passed in three weeks' time. Some time should be given. The Under-Secretary is going to move later on that the time of coming into operation will be the 1st of July next. I think that that is a reasonable period.


I beg to second the Amendment.


This Amendment is moved under a misapprehension. This paragraph was inserted in Committee in order to protect firemen now serving from certain requirements. I do not see in the least why we should set ourselves to make similar provision for those who are to become firemen after the passing of the Act. Everyone will know the qualifications, and if firemen are appointed after the Act passes they ought to possess these qualifications.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.