§ 54. Mr. JOHN WILLIAMS
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether 214 his attention has been drawn to the case where a collier employed at the Llay Hall branch colliery was denied the minimum wage under the Minimum Wage Act on the ground that he had not worked 80 per cent, of the possible number of shifts; whether he is aware that the reason for non-compliance with this condition was that the collier in question is chairman of the Miners' Association and representative of the workmen at his colliery, is a member of the advisory committee under the Military Service Act, the Naval and Military Pensions Committee, the Food Committee, the Harwarden Rural District Council, and Justice of the Peace for the county of Flint; whether he is aware that the independent chairman of the Joint District Board ruled that the collier's absence from work to attend to these other duties was not something over which he had no control, and, therefore, he was not entitled to the minimum wage; and whether he will consult with the Coal Controller as to the advisability of issuing an instruction that where workmen are absent from work in consequence of attending to public duties they shall not be penalised under the Minimum Wage Act?
§ Mr. WARDLE
The case referred to has not previously been brought to my notice, but I will cause inquiries to be made into it. I would, however, remind the hon. Member that the Board of Trade have no power under the Minimum Wage Act to vary the Rules under the Act. Such alteration can only be made by the Joint District Board itself or its neutral Chairman under Section 3 of the Act. I have, therefore, no power to cause to be issued any such instruction as is contemplated in the question.