HC Deb 27 November 1934 vol 295 cc661-2
33. Mrs. WARD

asked the Secretary for Mines whether the Mines Department have done anything to give effect to the recommendations of the Miners' Lamps Committee made 12 years ago in regard to the provision of means for the detection of gas by workmen underground; and what difficulties, if any, have stood in the way?


I informed the House on 1st November that I proposed shortly to publish regulations already drafted and discussed which would deal with this matter comprehensively. I deferred further action, however, on the matter pending further discussions with the Mineworkers' Federation, at the latter's request. This discussion took place last week, and I regret to find that, although the draft regulations are based very largely on the recommendations of the Miners' Lamps Committee of 1922, they are not acceptable in certain important respects to the Mineworkers' Federation, and I am now considering the objections made by the latter. The reason why regulations have not yet been made to give effect to those recommendations was stated in the annual report of my Department for 1933 in the following terms: opinions in the industry were sharply divided and there was not generally shown at that time that willingness to accept the new duties which the committee pointed out to be an essential condition of effective action.


Has the hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to certain statements in the Press by the President of the Mineworkers' Federation?


I am obliged to my hon. Friend for calling my attention to an article in a certain journal. I regret that opinion in the industry has been so long and so sharply divided, especially in view of the fact that, having seen the recommendations of the Miners' Lamps Committee of 1922, the Mineworkers' Federation have not been willing to accept them for, as the committee emphasised, the cooperation of the workmen is essential if effect is to be given to the recommendations.


When will finality be reached with regard to the suggested regulation?


As soon as I have considered the objections and seen whether I can meet them and come to my decision and, after my decision is made, either side can go to arbitration.


May we know the source of the hon. Gentleman's information?


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