HC Deb 11 March 1920 vol 126 cc1560-1W

asked the Minister of Labour (1) whether at a meeting of the Industrial Council for the Tin Mining Industry held last week a claim was put forward for a minimum wage of £12 a month underground and £10 a month on surface work; that the Council failed to agree on this claim, and that the average wage of 2,151 tin miners returned for January this year in the "Labour Gazette" only works out at £2 6s. 6d. per week per man; when the next meeting of this Industrial Council is to be held; and whether, in the event of their then failing to agree as to a fair living wage for tin miners, he will order an Inquiry under Part II. of the Industrial Courts Act; and (2) what was the price of lead (English pig), spelter (English Swansea), and tin (Standard Cash) on 30th June last and at the present moment; and whether, in view of the low wages returned in the February "Labour Gazette" as being earned by tin and lead miners, he will appoint a Court of Inquiry into the conditions of their employment under the Industrial Courts Act, 1919?


I will answer these questions, dealing with the same matter, together. The hon. Member is under a misapprehension in stating that the claim referred to was considered at a meeting of the Joint Industrial Council for the Tin Mining Industry. The claim was not formally put in at the last meeting of the Joint Industrial Council, but was discussed subsequently at joint conferences between employers and employed. I understand that those discussions are continuing. With regard to the prices of lead, spelter and tin, I am circulating with the OFFICIAL REPORT information which I have obtained. With regard to the request for an Inquiry, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply given to the Member for Plaistow (Mr. W. Thorne) on the 18th February, in which I pointed out that, in view of the fact that a Board of Trade Committee was inquiring into the economic position of the non-ferrous mining industry, it would appear to be unnecessary to hold concurrent inquiry.

The following is the information promised

I understand that the prices in question are as follows:—

30th June, 1919. 8th March, 1920.
per ton. per ton.
£ s. d. £ s. d.
Lead (English Pig) 23 5 0 52 0 0
Spelter (English Swansea). 39 0 0 52 0 0
Tin (Standard Cash) 238 10 0 386 0 0