HC Deb 02 July 1942 vol 381 cc480-1
9. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that Thomas Henry Lowe, 276, Leigh Road, Hindley Green, Wigan, a coalminer, was recently fined £15 plus £3 5s. at the Wigan County police court on a charge of absenteeism; that he was unable to work on the days in question because of sickness, but could not produce medical certificates; that workmen following arduous employment underground often suffer from fatigue in respect of which it is not customary to ask for or to issue medical certificates; and whether, as the miner usually consumes as much meat to sustain his physique in two days as the present ration allows him for a week, he will direct his officials to take these factors into account before prosecutions are initiated in future?

Mr. Bevin

This was a case of persistent absenteeism, in spite of repeated warnings. The pit production committee recommended prosecution and may, I think, be relied on not to overlook such considerations as that mentioned by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Davies

Why does the Minister's Department specialise in persecuting and prosecuting miners in particular, and is he aware that miners doing arduous work may suffer from fatigue without obtaining a medical certificate?

Mr. Bevin

I repudiate entirely the suggestion that I either persecute or unduly prosecute miners. I have confidence in the representatives which the Miners' Federation have on these bodies, and I would rather rely on their judgment than that of my hon. Friend.