asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that the National Coal Board are asking their officials and colliery clerks to do work in the National Coal Board's time with regard to stoppages from men's pay on behalf of the contribution to the funds of the National Union of Mineworkers and, particularly, with regard to payments of the union political levy; and what steps he is taking to see that his political activity by the National Coal Board is stopped.
Before nationalisation, it was the practice in some areas for trade union dues to be deducted from miners' pay. This was done under agreements entered into by the former owners of the mines. No doubt, the National Coal Board are continuing the practice. I do not think that any question of political activity arises.
The practice is continuing on a large scale. Is the Minister aware that the Coal Board is called the National Coal Board and that there are a large number of people in this nation who do not like to have anything to do with a Socialist political levy? Will he see either that it is the National Coal Board or else change it to the Socialist Coal Board?
As I pointed out, this practice was in operation under private ownership. All that we have done is to continue the practice. So far as I know, the miners are not complaining and I do not see why the hon. and gallant Member should.
The mineworkers are the only persons concerned in this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The contributions are deducted from their pay and obviously they are the persons concerned. Ought it not to be left to them to state a grievance if they have one?