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Employment (Light-Work Miners)

Volume 400: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1944

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware of the loss in skilled workmen who are refused employment in or about mines on account of receiving light-work compensation; and whether he is prepared to have an enquiry to ascertain the number which could be employed.

My regional controllers are making every effort to ensure the re-employment in the industry of men in receipt of light-work compensation as soon as they become fit for work, and I am not aware of any evidence of refusal on the part of employers to engage men of this type if suitable work is available. The position is kept under constant review and my regional controllers will continue their efforts. As, however, my hon. Friend will be aware, the kinds of work on which such men can be employed are extremely limited and, in many cases, work of which they are capable cannot immediately be provided.

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that, judging by the amount offered in compensation, the injury in many cases cannot be severe, and the work that they could do as practical men is equal to the work that the Bevin boys can do? Is he also aware that there is an opinion that Bevin boys are preferred to practical men with light injuries?

I am not aware of that. If the hon. Member will give me examples, I will look into them.

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman prepared to have an inquiry into the number of these men who could be usefully employed?

On such information as I have, I am not aware of any evidence. If the hon. Member can, give me one or two cases which would justify an inquiry I will consider it.

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that in a large number of cases, light-work men have been refused employment, that the employer has no difficulty in securing their release from the National Service Officer, and that a large number of skilled practical men are being lost to the industry?