HC Deb 27 January 1944 vol 396 cc839-40
21. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for India the hours worked by Indian miners; their scale of wages; the number and percentage of fatal and nonfatal accidents annually; and the scope and scale of workmen's compensation.

Mr. Amery

The Indian Mines Act provides that no person may work more than six days or 54 hours in one week, or more than ten hours above ground or nine hours below ground in one day. The average daily earnings of coal miners working underground in 1942 varied from 1 Rupee 10 annas 9 pies to 10 annas and 9 pies according to the coal field. Wages have recently been substantially increased and in most pits stand at over 50 per cent. above pre-war rates. In 1942, in all mines, 342 persons were killed in 287 accidents. 1,522 suffered serious injury and 10,871 minor injuries. The total employed was 357,600. I am sending the honourable Member a copy of the Indian Workmen's Compensation Act.

Mr. Sorensen

Has any consideration been paid to the possibility of substantially raising the wages of Indian miners and improving their conditions, and thus attracting more men to that particular employment?

Mr. Amery

Yes, Sir, that has been considered, and I hope that more will be done in that direction.

Mr. Thorne

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us the reasons why coal miners in India could not be put under the same conditions as coal miners in this country?

Mr. Amery

All the conditions in India are so very different from conditions in this country that it is impossible to draw exact parallels.