HC Deb 20 January 1944 vol 396 cc338-9
11. Commander Galbraith

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he proposes to take to ensure that persons directed by him from their present employment to work in the coalmines are not compelled to join the Mineworkers' Federation.

Mr. Bevin

There is no such compulsion on my part nor is there any statutory obligation that a coalminer should be a member of a trade union. Any question of the adjustment of the normal industrial agreements to meet the case of persons directed to the coalmining industry is one for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power.

Commander Galbraith

Is the Minister aware that there is very real apprehension and that there is also dissatisfaction among trainees regarding the pay and allowances they are receiving; and are any special steps being taken in connection with the welfare of these young fellows?

Mr. James Griffiths

Will the Minister advise these young men who are going to the mines that if they meet with an accident the claim for compensation is likely to be opposed by the owners, and that unless they are members of the Union they will be suffering detriment for the rest of their lives?

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

Will the hon. Gentleman see to it that these young men are free to choose whether they join or not?

Mr. Bevin

Under the industrial agreement that is a matter for the Minister of Fuel and Power.

Mr. Shinwell

In order to clarify this issue, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman has any evidence that these young trainees or anybody entering the mining industry has declined to join the Mineworkers' Federation?

Mr. Bevin

No, I have heard nothing at all except in this House.

23. Mr. Bowles

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will waive the charge proposed to be made upon the mining ballottees for transporting them to and from their hostel and the pit, which, in the case of Coventry, amounts to 5s. per week.

Mr. E. Bevin

I am reviewing the whole question of payments made to trainees at coalmining training centres in the light of existing lodging and transport difficulties and hope to make an announcement on the subject shortly.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

Will my right hon. Friend also make an announcement about the inadequate provision of hostels? Is he responsible or is the Ministry of Fuel and Power because my right hon. Friend said he would speed up the recommendations of the Forster Report?

Mr. Bevin

I think there is some misunderstanding. We are now in the process of building hostels for the trainees.

Mr. Bowles

Can my right hon. Friend make a statement to-day in view of what seems to be a fairly widespread amount of unrest?

Mr. Bevin

I do not think I can do it to-day, but I will do it before the weekend.