Mr George Sylvester: In claiming the indulgence of the House, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I would tell hon. Members that as recently as February of this year I had been working underground for more than 35 years. I am probably the only representative of a mining constituency who has worked underground since the mines came into the ownership of the nation. Many observations have been made upon the subject of the shortage...
Mr George Sylvester: Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are ex-miners in the Regular Army who desire to return to the industry? Will he use his good offices to try to get them back into the industry?
Mr George Sylvester: In view of the recent increases in production before the wage increase is effective, would it not be far better if we had less bickering from the other side of the House?
Mr George Sylvester: asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the number of man shifts lost in the mining industry through trade disputes from V.E. day to the end of February, 1948; and comparative figures for a similar period after Armistice day, 1918.
Mr George Sylvester: Would not my right hon. Friend agree that the number of days lost since V.E. day has been caused largely by the grades of people commonly called officials, who never struck under the old private owners; and, further, would not he agree that, even taking into account these stoppages, the policy pursued by this Government has saved the country from the turmoil in this industry that followed the...
Mr George Sylvester: Is my right hon. Friend aware that the question of Grimethorpe is now being discussed with the appropriate consultative committee? Furthermore, is he aware that there is very little unrest in the Barnsley area, and that the figures show that only last week at least 12 pits in the area beat their own targets?
Mr George Sylvester: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that if he had been at Doncaster at the Yorkshire miners' demonstration a fortnight ago he would have found a coloured man walking behind his local lodge banner, as he has done for a great many years?
Mr George Sylvester: asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he has considered the report of the Chief Inspector of Mines on the explosion at Ingham Colliery, Thornhill, Yorkshire in September, 1947; and, in view of the recommendations contained therein relative to the use of flame lamps locked only by a lead rivet, if he will consider making regulations prohibiting that type of lamp being used.
Mr George Sylvester: Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, in between the wars, the coal owners took that sort of action against men who took an interest in the trade unions? I was one who suffered from it.
Mr George Sylvester: I have listened very carefully to most of the speeches made by hon. Members opposite in this Debate. While it is true that one or two have mentioned that some of the defects are due to absenteeism, the majority have glossed it over, and said that the miners themselves are jolly good fellows. When I hear hon. Members opposite talking in that strain, I look for the hidden meaning. In the same...
Mr George Sylvester: I represent a constituency and I live in an area where for the whole of my life the problem of mining subsidence has been a burning question. I well remember in 1923, when the Royal Commission was set up, that people in my district felt that something would be done in the matter. Four years passed before that Commission presented its Report, and then we found that nothing was done. Between...
Mr George Sylvester: Is the Minister aware that in the mining areas, owing to the danger of subsidence, the majority of houses have to be built on rafts which need steel, and will he do his best to see that they have the required quantity of steel bars, because there are areas at present where building has had to stop because of the shortage of steel?
Mr George Sylvester: Would the Secretary of State look into this matter again, because he may be aware that I have drawn the attention of the Under-Secretary to the case of a constituent of mine who last Saturday had to pay £2 2s. 6d. to send a 2½ 1b. parcel to a boy of 19 in Malaya?
Mr George Sylvester: I have already done so. I have told the Under-Secretary about it.
Mr George Sylvester: Might I reinforce the plea of my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg) about Question No. 48. because this matter is creating great concern in the mining areas?
Mr George Sylvester: asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence whether, in view of the increasing need for more miners, he will consider releasing from Her Majesty's Forces all miners with underground experience who were serving in Korea and the Far East last summer, and were not then allowed to apply for release, but are now repatriated.
Mr George Sylvester: Will the Minister make this generally known to these men because an injury was done to them in that they were serving their country and could not take advantage of the scheme; and, secondly, in view of the fact that his right hon. Friend, about a fortnight ago, said that there were nearly 12,000 vacancies in the mining industry, would not these men be of assistance to the mining industry,...
Mr George Sylvester: I beg to second the Motion. My hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. S.O. Davies) is to be congratulated on bringing before the House and the country the plight of our unfortunate friends who, as a result of meeting with accidents prior to 1948, find that owing to the legislation of 1948 it is legally impossible for them to receive any increase in their weekly rates. The first...
Mr George Sylvester: The point I was making was that as it is four years since the Act came into being it is fair to assume that the majority of men now on total compensation will probably never get back to their own kind of work again.
Mr George Sylvester: I accept the point which the hon. Member is making. I made the same point, and his hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain MacLeod) contradicted me.