HC Deb 31 January 1934 vol 285 cc354-6

asked the Secretary for Mines with respect to the breaches of the Seven and a-half Hours Act and overtime working at Cardowan Colliery, Lanarkshire, if he will state the date upon which inquiry was made into the complaint; and whether the inquiry was made by an inspector of mines at the colliery or otherwise?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I received a report on this case, based on inquiries covering the period from 1st December, 1933, to 8th January, 1934, which were made at the colliery on 9th January by an inspector of mines. In communicating the results of the inquiries to the hon. Member, as I have already done, I informed him that they did not support the allegation of illegal overtime working.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that particularly at mines where mechanisation has taken place there is a growing tendency to work long hours and overtime, and, when the attention of the coalowners is drawn to the matter, they nearly always excuse themselves by saying it is emergency work. Has the hon. Gentleman given his consideration to the matter?


Consideration has been given to the matter, and I am proposing immediately to begin an investigation in Lancashire after consultation with the Miners' Federation and the Mining Association.


Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that the inquiry was carried out in a thorough and proper manner?


Certainly I am.

53. Mr. GRAHAM

asked the Secretary for Mines if he will make inquiry into the complaint that the seven and a-half hour day is being systematically broken at Ross Colliery, Hamilton, Lanarkshire, and that men are being threatened with dismissal if they refuse to carry out the instructions of the management, involving a breach of the law; and whether any action will be taken by his Department so that men anxious to observe the law will not be intimidated into breaking it?


My attention has not previously been called to this colliery, but I will have inquiries made and will let the hon. Member know the result, or indicate when it would be convenient for him to repeat his question if he prefers that course.


In any inquiry that is made is there ever a report that the 7½-hour day is being broken


The question is regularly arising, and in every ease investigation is made. The hon. Member would not expect me to give a general answer, because each case must be examined on its merits. The inquiry that we are making is with the intention of eliciting how far the new machine mining has altered the basis of the regulations under the law of 1908 and whether any alteration is required.


Up to the present has any mines inspector given it as his opinion that, where work is necessary, it comes under the emergency clause and is emergency work?


If the hon. Member has followed the subject, he will know that there is more in the problem. There have been certain prosecutions. The difficulty is that with the new machine mining it is very difficult to say what is or what is not emergency work under the Act of 1908. It is for that purpose that I have made the inquiry.

Forward to