HC Deb 18 December 1934 vol 296 cc947-8
16. Mr. MANDER

asked the Secretary for Mines the present position and intentions of the British Government with regard to the International Convention for reducing the hours of labour in mines?


The present position is as follows. In June last a tripartite conference was held at Geneva, consisting of delegations from Governments, employers and miners. All the European coal-producing countries named in the draft Convention were represented at this conference, with the exception of Germany. The conference considered five points in respect of which it was felt, by one or more of the Governments concerned, that the draft Convention required revision. Of the five points, two were those previously raised by the British Government, and the remaining three were raised by other Governments.

At the meeting of the governing body of the International Labour. Office in September, a sixth point for revision was added on the proposal of the workers' group. Since then, the governing body have consulted the Governments concerned, and at their meeting next month will have again to consider these six points, and to decide whether to put any or all of them on the agenda of the full conference to be held in June next. So far as His Majesty's Government is concerned, their policy in regard to this convention remains unchanged. It was defined by my predecessor in office, who, in answer to a question put to him by the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) on the 23rd February, 1932, said: His Majesty's Government is favourably disposed towards the Convention. The detailed application of some of its provisions to the coal mines of this country presents certain problems which are under consideration. As soon as these points have been disposed of, the Government will be prepared to ratify the Convention provided that the other six countries will do so at the same time. I may add that the Ministry of Labour and the Mines Department, jointly, are meeting representatives of the employers and of the workmen, respectively, during this week, in order to hear their views.