§ Order for Second Reading, read.
§ 2.16 p.m.
§ Mr. CAPE
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
I am afraid that there is a very wrong impression in the minds of hon. Members as to the meaning of this Bill. I fear that a good many Members think that if the Bill becomes law, it will mean a general advance in wages to all men working in or about n mine, and I want to take any thought of that kind out of their minds. In 1912 the principle of a minimum wage for miners underground was accepted by this House in the form of an Act of Parliament, and that Act meant that certain classes working in mines and under certain conditions would be entitled to a minimum wage. That Act laid it down that the district wage committees should set out the amount of wages to be paid as a minimum to the various classes of workers and should also set out certain codes to which the workmen must conform before becoming entitled to the minimum. In the Act of 1912, in Sub-section (1) of Clause 1, we find these words:It shall be an implied term of every contract for the employment of a workman underground in a coal mine that the em- 2299 ployer shall pay to that workman wages at not less than the minimum rate settled under this Act.That is the rate set by the district boards that came into operation under that Act. In this new Bill we want to carry that a little further, and—
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present—
§ The House was Adjourned at Twenty Minutes after Two of the Clock until Monday next, 19th February.