asked the Minister of Labour why boys directed into the mining industry who were not allowed to go into the Forces will not have equal rights of reinstatement in civil employment after demobilisation; why they may not now transfer to the Forces and their places be compulsorily taken by trained miners eligible to return to the mines under Class B; and whether the eventual date of release of these boys under Class A grouping will conform to the date of group release announced by the Navy, or the Army, or the Air Force, each of which is different.
As far as men are concerned, the Reinstatement in Civil Employment Act, 1944, applied only to members of the Armed Forces of the Crown and to certain members of the Civil Defence Forces. I hope to make a general statement in the near future about the position of boys called up compulsorily to the mines.
asked the Minister of Labour how many boys have been conscripted for work in mines; how many have opted for this work since the start of the scheme; and what have been the figures for absenteeism amongst both classes during July, August and September, respectively.
:Up to the end of August, 20,893 young men had entered coalmining employment as a result of the ballot, while 24,849 men had entered that employment in preference to service in the Forces. With regard to the second part of the Question, I am advised by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power that absenteeism figures are separately not available for particular classes of workmen defined by reference to the manner in which they entered the industry.
Arising out of that answer and the previous one, can the Minister say when he can make this statement, as it deals with both those questions?
I hope to make it in the immediate future. The matter is under examination and one or two figures have yet to be checked, but I really am anxious to make the statement soon.
asked the Minister of Labour when he proposes to restore to men employed in the coalmines freedom from direction and control.
The whole question of labour controls is at present under examination, and I will make a statement on the subject as soon as possible.
As attendance is no longer enforced by penalty, what is the point of continuing to use direction?
I think that is another question.