§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the dismissal of a number of aged underground workmen from the Deep Duffryn Colliery and at Messrs. Nixon's Navigation and Cwm Cynon Collieries, South Wales, on the score of age; whether the periods of continuous service of these men in the employ of the. companies named ranges from 15 years in the lowest case to periods of 30, 45, 47, and 53 years in the highest; whether under the Coal Mines (Minimum Wage) Act provision is made for aged workmen accepting a lower rate of wages than that agreed upon for normal work- 2834W men; whether the age for South Wales has been fixed at 63 years; and whether he will cause inquiry to be made into all the facts of the case in order to ascertain whether he has any powers under the Minimum Wage Act or otherwise to make representations to the companies named in favour of having the men restored to their employment?
As my hon. Friend is aware Section 1 (2) of the Coal Mines (Minimum Wage) Act requires that the district rules shall lay down conditions, as respects the district to which they apply, with respect to the exclusion from the right to wages at the minimum rate of good and infirm workmen. The district rules for South Wales provide that a workman who has reached sixty-three years of age shall be regarded as an aged workman within the meaning of the Act, and shall be excluded from the right to wages at the minimum rate. I have seen the letter on the matter which my hon. Friend has been good enough to send me, but as at present advised I do not think that the Board of Trade have any power in the matter. Of course, if any action has been taken in contravention of the rule above mentioned the remedy is provided in the Act.2835W
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Royal Commission is appointed for Twelve o'clock, and I now propose to leave the Chair until that hour.
Sitting suspended accordingly.
The House reassembled at Twelve of the clock, Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair.