asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many miners have been dismissed during the first nine months of 1950 for other causes than the closing down of pits and redundancy; what was the figure for 1949 and what were the chief causes of their dismissal.
The number for the first nine months of 1950 is 4,600; for the corresponding months last year it was 7,300. The chief reason for the dismissals was persistent absenteeism.
In view of these alarming figures, has the Minister taken any fresh steps to try to cure this important problem?
The most effective step is good recruitment. Dismissals are about one half of 1 per cent. of the labour force per annum—that is about all. It is, I admit, a problem, but the hon. Member will recognise that we cannot send simply anybody down the mines. Lots of men are unsuitable for the work. Miners must be courageous, intelligent and strong.
Have those men any chance again of earning a living in the mining industry?
That would depend on the circumstances.
On whether it was judged that they would be good miners when taken back. They can always get other employment nowadays; it is not like the old days.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the percentage of absenteeism on the Opposition benches last week was greater than the figures which he has just mentioned?