HC Deb 23 January 1947 vol 432 cc352-3
36. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how much coal is calculated to have been lost by reason of voluntary absenteeism from the pits in the period immediately following the Christmas holidays.

Mr. Shinwell

Satisfactory estimates of the loss of output due to absenteeism cannot be given, owing to the difficulty of evaluating all the factors involved. Output in the two weeks ending 4th January, 1947, was a million tons more this year than last.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm or deny that there was a substantial loss in the output of coal caused by voluntary absenteeism during this period?

Mr. Shinwell

I deprecate this constant emphasis on absenteeism among miners. There is no such emphasis as regards other employment.

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

Does the Minister then disagree with the complaint of Sir Ben Smith during this period?

Mr. Shinwell

Sir Ben Smith did not make a complaint; he just afforded an explanation.

Mr. David Griffiths

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that, while there is an increase in the tonnage and output per man hour, a lot of the absenteeism is due to hon. Members opposite decrying individuals?