HC Deb 22 July 1941 vol 373 cc773-4
25. Miss Ward

asked the Secretary for Mines whether, in view of the varying policies adopted in the coalfields towards holidays, he will make an authoritative statement as to the policy which His Majesty's Government have decided shall be pursued?

Mr. Grenfell

Since the beginning of April I have made it clear to the district Production committees, representing both owners and men in each colliery district, that in the opinion of the Government the needs of the country demanded that mining holidays this summer, including both Easter and Whitsun, should be limited to six days in all. A month ago, in view of the slow progress being made in increasing output, both the Coal Production Council of my Department and I myself made a further appeal that the usual week's holiday with pay, if taken at all this year, should be deferred until the Autumn, only the Bank Holiday, and perhaps the previous Saturday, being taken in August. I do not think therefore that it can be said that the industry lacks authoritative guidance in this matter.

Miss Ward

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Minister of Labour announced, quite rightly, that holidays ought to be taken by all the industrial community, and will he see that an authoritative statement is carried out by the districts, if necessary, in view of the fact that a great many of the miners' federations in various districts are disregarding the advice given by his Department?

Mr. Grenfell

I am not responsible for announcements made by any other Department. I can only speak on behalf of my own, and we are conveying to the local committees our wishes on this matter.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Is my hon. Friend aware that the general practice of the officials of the collieries is to take their full holidays?

Mr. Grenfell

I am not commenting on the behaviour of either men or officials; I am simply saying what the request of my Department was.

Captain Lyons

Is it not a fact that the whole situation in relation to output depends on man-power? Is not my hon. Friend's difficulty that he has not complete control of man-power, and will he take steps to take that control?

Mr. Grenfell

I do not think that I can be charged with being vague on that point. I have been perfectly clear on it over and over again.

Mr. McGovern

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that those who are most concerned with the miners having a few days' holiday are those who can take holidays whenever they like?

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