Industrial Courts Act Inquiry.

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal Mining Industry. – in the House of Commons on 13th July 1925.

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Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Aberavon

I beg to ask the Prime Minster a question of which I have given private notice, namely, if he has any statement to make regarding the coal situation?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

My right hon. Friends the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Bridgeman), the Minister of Labour (Sir A. Steel-Maitland), and my hon. and gallant Friend the Secretary for Mines (Colonel Lane-Fox) had conversations last week with the representatives of the owners and the representatives of the miners. In view of the situation disclosed by those conversations the Government has decided to set up a Court of Inquiry under the Industrial Courts Act, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour has set up a court accordingly. It will consist of—

  • The Right Hon. II. P. Macmillan (Chairman).
  • Mr. W. Sherwood, and
  • Sir Josiah Stamp.
The terms of reference will be.

"To inquire into the causes and circumstances of the dispute in the coal mining industry."

I hope that it will be possible to make arrangements for the Court to commence its duties at an early date.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

Will the Prime Minister tell us whether he has got the sanction of the Miners' Federation for that Court of Inquiry? Is he not aware that every Court of Inquiry that has been held has been a failure—that a Court of Inquiry is simply eyewash, and means nothing?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

I regret to hear the last remarks of the hon. Member. He is probably aware that the responsibility of setting up such a court belongs to the Government. They do not consult either party. We consider in the present circumstances that it is the proper course to pursue, and I very much trust it may be of some assistance.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

It will make things worse!

Mr. ERSKINE:

Is it proper to describe the present impasse as a dispute?

Photo of Mr Thomas Grundy Mr Thomas Grundy , Rother Valley

Does the setting up of the Court of Inquiry mean that the owners have postponed or withdrawn their demands?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

I do not think that arises?