HC Deb 11 April 1935 vol 300 cc1332-3

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he has any information as to the intention of the South Wales coal owners with regard to the celebration of the Royal Jubilee?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I have been in touch with Mr. Evan Williams who informs me that the following letter was sent yesterday to the South Wales Miners' Federation.

The Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners' Association.


10th April, 1931.

Oliver Harris, Esquire,

South Wales Miners' Federation,

2, St. Andrew's Crescent,


Dear Mr. Oliver Harris,

I have submitted your letter of the 6th instant making application for the payment of a day's wages to all the workmen in the coalfield for the Jubilee Holiday on 6th May.

I am instructed to say that while the coal owners of South Wales have every desire to mark in a manner worthy of it, this notable event they hold the view very strongly that this object should be achieved by doing something which may prove of lasting advantage and not by making to those who are in employment a gift, the benefit of which would quickly vanish and do no enduring good. For this mainly, and for other reasons which I need not mention, they cannot accept the suggestion contained in your letter.

Their desire is that such an occasion as this which has aroused the enthusiasm of the whole nation, should be celebrated by some act on their part the result of which will be of permanent benefit and preferably to those who, having spent their lives in the industry, are in their old age no longer able to give service and receive remuneration for it and are dependent upon such provision as the State makes for them.

The owners' representatives therefore have decided to recommend that a fund of not less than £50,000 be raised by voluntary subscription among the South Wales coal owners which they suggest shall form the nucleus around which a Scheme of Old Age Pensions shall be built up. They invite your Executive Council to appoint a few of its members to co-operate with a similar number on their side in the consideration of the best way in which effect can be given to the project.

They feel that something of real value can thus be done to those whose needs are greatest and who most deserve the consideration of the industry, and they trust that their action will be conducive to a greater appreciation of the true community of interest of employers and employed and to harmony and peace in the coalfield.

Yours faithfully,


Assistant Secretary.


Is my hon. Friend aware that this announcement will give general satisfaction on account of the new principle which has been introduced in connection with the relationship between workpeople and employers? Did I understand the hon. Member to say that details of the scheme are to be negotiated between representatives of the South Wales miners and the coalowners, and that this is a minimum sum?


It is a minimum sum to be negotiated on the terms laid down in the letter, and I am sure that the House will agree that it is a very fine precedent.


May I ask whether this admirable precedent is to be carried out in any other coalfield?


I should want notice of that question.


May I ask whether the Secretary for Mines will pass this on as a recommendation to the coalfields in the north of England?


I am sure that attention will be given to this scheme all over the country.