§ 35. Mr. HENDERSON STEWART
asked the Minister of Labour the percentage increase per shift in miners' wages over 1913 now being paid, and the percentage increase in the index figure for the cost of living for the same period, with similar figures for railway employés?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
According to statistics published by the Mines Department, the average earnings (exclusive of allowances in kind) per man-shift worked in the quarter ended 30th June, 1935, was 9s. 2.85d., as compared with 6s. 5¾d. in June, 1914, an increase of about 42 per cent. The average weekly payments (including payments for overtime, Sunday duty, night duty, etc.) to male adults in railway conciliation grades in the week ended 9th March, 1935, according to statistics published by the Ministry of Transport, was 63s. 1d. According to statements made to the Railway National Wages Board by the Railway Companies in 1932, the corresponding figure in 1914 was 28s. 5d. The increase in average weekly wages, calculated from these figures, is thus 122 per cent. The cost of living index number showed an increase, as compared with July, 1914, of 41 per cent. at 1st March, 1935, and of 40 per cent. at 1st June, 1935.
§ 116. Mr. TINKER
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that colliery workers have long distances to travel to their work and that the travelling expenses for that purpose reduce the wages; and will he say whether this has been considered by his Department so that such fares may be met by the issuing of railway or motor vouchers to those who travel beyond a specified distance?
§ The SECRETARY for MINES (Captain Crookshank)
I am, of course, aware that many colliery workers have to travel considerable distances to their work, as also have many other workers, but I am not clear how the hon. Member suggests that the cost of the proposed vouchers should be met. If it is suggested that it should come out of the funds available within the industry for wages purposes, it appears to be a question for discussion between owners and workmen within the industry.
§ Mr. TINKER
The question was put down to the Minister of Labour and passed on to the Minister of Mines.
§ 117. Mr. GARRO-JONES
asked the Secretary for Mines, in view of his assurance that he intends to see that a fair pit-head price is taken as a basis for the wages ascertainment, what form of investigation is intended to detect and prevent the concealment of the true pithead price by the method of forming intermediary selling companies?
§ Captain CROOKSHANK
I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave yesterday to a question on this subject by my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. G. Williams).
§ Mr. GARRO-JONES
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the question deals only with subsidiary companies of the collieries, and that the ascertainment price is equally concealed by the common interests of directors in the collieries and in the selling companies. Could I have an answer?
§ 121. Mr. HENDERSON STEWART
asked the Secretary for Mines whether, in view of the disparities of the figures of costs, wages, prices, etc., issued by coal-owners' and coalminers' organisations, respectively, and the necessity of giving the public accurate statistics upon which to base their judgment on the present dispute, he will consider appointing a small accountants' committee of inquiry to examine and report quickly upon the facts in question?
§ Captain CROOKSHANK
No, Sir, and perhaps the hon. Member will be good enough to refer to the answer which I gave on 17th December to the hon. and gallant Member for Islington, North (Colonel Goodman), of which I am sending him a copy.