§ 63. Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport
asked the Minister of Labour what is the present position in regard to the employment of Hungarian refugees in coalmining and auxiliary occupations.
§ 65. Mr. H. Fraser
asked the Minister of Labour what is the latest position regarding the employment and training of Hungarian refugees for work in the coal mines; and if he will make a statement of the Government's policy in this regard.
§ Mr. Carr
I am informed by the National Coal Board that 482 Hungarians are now employed in coalmining and 249 in ancillary occupations. Six hundred and forty-four are still at training centres. The National Coal Board is responsible for placing them in coalmining employment, but the Employment Exchanges of my Department will assist those who may wish to take up work outside the coal-mining industry.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport
Is it not a shame that these poor people who 216 have suffered so much should not be allowed to earn the very highest wages and at the same time assist in our national recovery?
§ Mr. Carr
We would all wish that these Hungarians could have been absorbed into the mines. Equally, we should recognise the efforts which have been made, not only by the National Coal Board, but by the leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers, to get this accepted. Unfortunately, whatever we may think, people cannot be forced in this way.
§ Mr. Fraser
Does my hon. Friend consider that if this slow rate of absorption continues, it is unfair both to the taxpayer and to the Hungarian refugees? Will he give the matter more urgent consideration and reach a conclusion on a scheme which, so far, has not been successful on account of the attitude in the unions?
§ Mr. Blyton
Is the Minister aware that the question of foreign labour in the mines is governed by an agreement of 1945? Am I to take it from what his hon. Friends have said that they want to break the agreement irrespective of what happens in the mines?
§ Mr. Woodburn
Will the Minister not ask his two hon. Friends, whose sympathetic attitude to trade unions would help greatly, to approach the miners concerned and to use their influence with them?