HC Deb 06 April 1965 vol 710 cc218-9
33. Mr. Box

asked the Minister of Power if he will give a general direction, in the public interest, to the National Coal Board to hold an inquiry into the increase of absenteeism in the industry.

Mr. John Morris

No, Sir.

Mr. Box

Is the hon. Member not aware of the alarming increase in absenteeism that is taking place in the coal industry at present? Is he aware that it now amounts to 20 per cent. and is adding up to 10s. a ton to the price of coal? Is not he further aware that it is acknowledged throughout the industry that a good deal of the sickness and injury claims are false? Will he assure us that no regard will be paid to claims made upon the coal industry for increased wages and salaries until the National Union of Mineworkers has put its house in order?

Mr. Morris

The problem of absenteeism is a matter of day-to-day judgment for the Board.

Mr. McGuire

Does my hon. Friend realise that the mineworkers would not mind his publishing figures in respect of absenteeism if similar figures were published in respect of every other industry? What the miners are fed up to the back teeth with is dogs barking before they are hurt.—[Interruption.] This is short and sweet. If my hon. Friend publishes these figures will he also see that figures concerning industrialists and bosses in other industries are published?

Mr. Speaker

There are quite a few industrialists and quite a few bosses outside the industry with which this Question deals.

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