HC Deb 26 July 1900 vol 86 cc1317-8

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has now given full consideration to the petitions presented to him on behalf of a section of the miners of the Burnley district to be relieved from their present exemption, and to be placed under the provisions of the weighing clauses of the Mines Regulation Acts; whether he has caused examination to be made into the genuineness of these petitions, showing as they do in the case of the pits in question an almost unanimous desire on the part of the underground workers to be placed under the protection of the ordinary law regulating the payment of wages calculated by weight and not by measurement; whether he has received an assurance that such an inquiry, or a ballot jointly conducted on behalf both of the employers and employed, would be welcomed by the miners themselves; and whether, seeing that the Secretary of State has the power, under the Mines Regulation Acts, to make an order enforcing the check-weighing clauses of those Acts in respect of any mine or group of mines, on being satisfied as to the feeling among the miners employed in the mines in question, he will make an order giving them the protection accorded by Parliament to miners in general.


The matter has been constantly before both myself and my predecessors, and I have again considered it very carefully. I am satisfied that the signatures to the recent petitions are genuine, but on the other hand they do not show by any means an unanimous desire on the part of the miners for the revocation of the exemptions. I am not, however, in favour of continuing the exemptions unless it is clear that it is desirable in the best interests of all parties. But the matter appears to me to be so difficult that I have resolved to direct a special inquiry to be held, at which the representatives of all persons interested can be heard.