HC Deb 20 March 1941 vol 370 cc288-9
52 and 53. Mr. Tinker

asked the Secretary for Mines (1) whether he is aware that many collieries in Lancashire do not work a regular full week and the men played off are usually the fixed day-rate workers whose wages, when they fall below the regular week, compare unfavourably with other industries; and will he have inquiries made to see if this can be remedied;

(2) whether he is aware that mine-workers are leaving the mines and going to munition works because they are sure of a full week's work; and will he consider the position so that all mineworkers can be guaranteed a six-day week?

The Secretary for Mines (Mr. David Grenfell)

The Government have lately had under review the national requirements in coal during the coming half-year, including not merely current consumption but adequate reserves against the contingencies of next winter. This review shows the vital need for a substantial increase in the present rate of production in all areas, and in collaboration with my colleagues I am consulting both sides of the industry as to how this increased production can best be secured. In this connection full consideration is being given to the questions raised by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Tinker

While thanking my hon. Friend for his Reply, may I impress upon him the low rate of wages paid to many of the day wage workers, who for a five-days' week do not get more than £2 10s.? If a day is taken off, think what it means when other industries are paying higher wages and they should desire to go where better wages are being paid. I trust that my hon. Friend will give consideration to that fact.

Mr. Grenfell

I assure my hon. Friend that consideration of these points has already been begun.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Does my hon. Friend, in asking and pressing miners to come back to the mines from industries in respect of which orders have been issued by the Government, expect them to be able to go back to the mines without the assurance of a guaranteed week?

Mr. Grenfell

My hon. Friend has put the same point in another way; that is not being lost sight of.