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Coal Mining (Incentives)

Volume 928: debated on Thursday 17 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy when the existing productivity incentive scheme was implemented by the National Coal Board; what has been the estimated effect on productivity and on earnings; what steps he has taken to urge the National Coal Board to introduce a new scheme with greater pit-based incentives; and when he expects such a scheme to commence.

The national production bonus scheme was introduced for one year in January 1975. In the first quarter production was 1,207,000 tons above the target figure of 30 million tons and a bonus of £.2·90 per week was paid to all employees of the Board from March to June 1975. In the following quarters production did not exceed the target figure and no further bonuses were paid. In "Coal for the Future", the third report of the coal industry's tripartite group which my right hon. Friend chairs and on which unions, NCB and Government are represented, we said:

"We continue to believe that, as stated in the Final Report of the Coal Industry Examination 1974, a sound and effective incentive scheme could make a major contribution in raising the efficiency of production and matching performance to the industry's true potential.' Such a scheme has not yet been introduced as it is not possible to initiate one within the current pay policy, but we are glad to know that the NUM has set up a study group to examine the various possibilities."