Miner's Absenteeism (Prosecution).

Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort. – in the House of Commons on 2nd July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that Thomas Henry Lowe, 276, Leigh Road, Hindley Green, Wigan, a coalminer, was recently fined £15 plus £3 5s. at the Wigan County police court on a charge of absenteeism; that he was unable to work on the days in question because of sickness, but could not produce medical certificates; that workmen following arduous employment underground often suffer from fatigue in respect of which it is not customary to ask for or to issue medical certificates; and whether, as the miner usually consumes as much meat to sustain his physique in two days as the present ration allows him for a week, he will direct his officials to take these factors into account before prosecutions are initiated in future?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

This was a case of persistent absenteeism, in spite of repeated warnings. The pit production committee recommended prosecution and may, I think, be relied on not to overlook such considerations as that mentioned by my hon. Friend.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Why does the Minister's Department specialise in persecuting and prosecuting miners in particular, and is he aware that miners doing arduous work may suffer from fatigue without obtaining a medical certificate?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I repudiate entirely the suggestion that I either persecute or unduly prosecute miners. I have confidence in the representatives which the Miners' Federation have on these bodies, and I would rather rely on their judgment than that of my hon. Friend.