Mines (Loss of Output).

Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort. – in the House of Commons on 21st May 1942.

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Photo of Mr William Foster Mr William Foster , Wigan

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has considered amending the Essential Work (Coal Mining Industry) Order in such a way as would enable legal proceedings to be taken against the employers in the same way as is taken against the workmen for loss of output?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The provisions affecting workers in the Essential Work Order, and in particular those relating to absenteeism apply to all grades of employees, including the managers, and among those who may report cases of alleged absenteeism to the National Service Officer is the pit production committee. It does not appear, therefore, that there is anything more I could do by way of amendment of the Order in this respect. Efficiency of management is a matter that cannot be brought within the scope of the Order and must be dealt with in another way.

Photo of Mr William Foster Mr William Foster , Wigan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that under this Order £645,000 has been paid out to provide a guaranteed wage and that this represents a loss of from 250,000 to 300,000 shifts, which means a considerable loss of output? Cannot something be done to amend the Order so as to deal with owners who are responsible?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I have explained that you cannot very well deal with the management under this Order. I appreciate he point that my hon. Friend makes, but steps have to be taken in another direction to overcome it.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is a strong feeling that he is prosecuting the workmen for absenteeism but is not prosecuting the managements?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

My hon. Friend is wrong. Managers have been prosecuted for violations of the Order.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

But none have been sent to prison like the workmen.