asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that A. Parr, 14, Eyet Street, Leigh, a mineworker, employed at Bedford Colliery, Leigh, was discharged on 25th September; that he appealed to the tribunal, won, and was directed back to his employment; that owing to the time of the appeal and resumption of work he lost seven days' wages, and the employers refuse to pay this to him, as they claim it does not come within the Essential Work Order; and will he have inquiries made?
This workman was discharged with the permission of the National Service officer. In such a case the Essential Work Order does not make the employer liable for back pay if he is subsequently directed to reinstate the workman. I regret that I cannot see my way to impose this obligation on the employer in such circumstances.
Might I ask my right hon. Friend to consider the position where an employer wants to get rid of a workman and the workman objects? Even although the National Service officer says that he can be discharged, would it not be better to keep the man in employment until the issue of the tribunal's findings, thus saving labour? Payment could then be made to the man if he won the case.
If the National Service officer has given his decision that the man may be discharged, that is an act of a State official, and I cannot hold the employer responsible if subsequently the man is reinstated. It is only where the National Service officer has given a decision and the man is subsequently reinstated that the question arises.
Why not keep the man at work until the tribunal issues its findings? It is not a matter of misconduct.
I am sorry, but the case cannot arise until the National Service officer has given his decision. The man is at work until then. I cannot hold the employer responsible after the officer has given his decision.