HC Deb 10 February 1922 vol 150 cc477-8W

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that the unemployed coal miners at the Aberdare collieries are sent by the officials of the Employment Exchange to work at other mines as colliers' helpers; that this means a reduction of upwards of 2s. per day in their wages; if these men refuse to work at this reduced wage they are sent before the board of referees, which contains a colliery official and several tradesmen, but no representatives of the workmen; will he see that these miners are protected against this attempt to reduce their wages; and will he take steps to ensure that the workmen shall have due representation on the board of referees?


The decisions in the cases referred to by my hon. Friend were given by the local employment committee and not by the court of referees. This committee declined to recommend the payment of benefit to about 40 miners of between 18 and 22 years of age who refused to accept employment as colliers' helpers. The committee regarded this refusal as evidence that the men were nor genuinely seeking whole-time employment—which is one of the conditions for the receipt of benefit in these cases. The case for the men was stated by the miners' agent for the district, and on at least one occasion when these claims were being considered a representative of the miners was present as a member of the committee and concurred in the recommendation. In regard to the last part of the question I understand that the workmen employed in the mining industry are fully represented both on the local employment committee and on the court of referees.