HC Deb 18 February 1920 vol 125 cc935-6W

asked the Minister of Labour whether a request has been made to him on behalf of a section of the tin miners of Cornwall to establish a court of inquiry under Part II. of the Industrial Courts Act into their conditions of work and remuneration; whether he is aware that the wages of these men range between £7 and £l0 per month with the majority at the lower figure; whether, since 21st November last, the London Metal Exchange price for tin has advanced from £284 per ton to £392 per ton, and as the Cornwall output is 70 to 80 tons of metal weekly this advance of price represents a fund of not less than £350,000 annual increased dividend available for the various factors of the industry, and as only 5,000 persons are employed in tin mining, each of these could be paid £l a week extra and still leave £100,000 for employers and other factors in the industry; and, in view of the conditions in which these miners are living, will he give a date at which the inquiry can be commenced?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. A request for the appointment of a Court of Inquiry under the Industrial Courts Act has been received from the Metalliferous Miners' and Quarrymen's Union of Great Britain. The interests of this union are covered by the Joint Industrial Council of the Tin Mining Industry, although it has not yet joined this body, which, however, represents the great majority of the industry. The Joint Industrial Council recently concurred with other non-ferrous industries in the appointment by the Board of Trade of a Committee to examine the whole economic position of the non-ferrous mining industry, and, pending the report of this Committee, it would appear to be unnecessary to hold another inquiry, I accordingly informed the Metalliferous Miners' and Quarrymen's Union that before considering the appointment of a court I should desire that the suggestion should proceed with the support of the Joint Industrial Council.