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Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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asked the Minister of Labour the current rates of absenteeism in the 12 principal British industries.

The only industry in respect of which statistics as to the rate of absenteeism are available is coalmining, for which figures are regularly published by the Ministry of Fuel and Power.

Is it not a little hard on the miners that they should continually have their absenteeism exposed, however bad those figures may be, when everybody knows that the figures for other industries are worse? Will not the Minister provide information about the many other industries in the country, and cannot we have an assurance that, at least in nationalised industries, these figures will be available to the public?

The supplementary question went wider than the main Question. It is an unfortunate fact that the only industry for which there is authority to collect the figures is the mines, and this shows them up in a bad light as compared with other industries. I will bear in mind what the hon. and gallant Gentleman asks, but I have no authority to collect such figures at the moment.

Under nationalisation, the Minister will surely have such authority? Cannot we have an undertaking that he will get the authority to make the figures available?

I can give no other assurance except that I will bear in mind the hon. and gallant Gentleman's suggestion, and will consider it.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the miners are not disturbed at the published figures of the percentage of absenteeism because the results of the last 12 months show that they are doing their bit?

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that washing our dirty linen in public does nobody any good?