HC Deb 23 June 1932 vol 267 cc1253-4
48 and 49. Mr. T. WILLIAMS

asked the Secretary for Mines, (1) if he is aware that the management of the North Gawber Colliery, near Barnsley, are refusing to negotiate with the trade union concerned and have ignored all correspondence on the subject, although nearly 70 men have been out of work for nine weks; and whether he will send the conciliation officer of his department to make full inquiries into the matter.

(2) if he is aware that a dispute is in progress at the North Gawber Colliery, near Barnsley, due to the employers trying to secure a 25 per cent, cut in wage rates; and whether, as this is a breach of the undertaking given through the Mining Association, he proposes to take any action in the matter?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Isaac Foot)

I understand that the dispute in question relates to a price list for certain classes of ripping. The wage rates concerned are basis rates, and these are not within the scope either of the Coal Mines Act,, 1931, or of the undertakings given by the district Coalowners' Associations which take effect as from 8th July next. On the question of intervention by my Department, I have not received any request for such action either from the Yorkshire Mineworkers' Association or from the owners; but if both sides desire our assistance, it will most certainly be given.


Seeing that this colliery company is not attached to the coal owners' association, does not the hon. Gentleman see the danger which was suggested from these benches as likely to accrue after the passing of the last Act; and does he not think, notwithstanding the fact that this non-union firm have not sought intervention, that his Department ought to intervene?


It is impossible for us, in present circumstances, to intervene except at the request of both sides, but certainly no action is being taken inconsistent with the guarantee which I gave during the discussions on the last Measure. If that difficulty arises, we shall at once take steps.


Will the hon. Gentleman, in the circumstances, make representations to this company to treat their employés as the rest of the companies do?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the manager of this particular colliery is able to see one of the principal miners' leaders every day?


Seeing that 70 men have been out of work now for 10 weeks and they have no means of bringing the end of this dispute nearer, will not the hon. Member make representations on the matter?


We are in touch with the matter, but no one knows better than my hon. Friend the danger of thrusting our intervention on unwilling parties.