§ (1) Where any special regulations have been sent under this Act to the Secretary of State for approval he shall consider the regulations, and either approve or disapprove the same.
§ Where the Secretary of State disapproves the special regulations, no further action shall be taken in the matter.
§ Before the Secretary of State approves the special regulations there shall be published, in such manner as he may think best adapted for informing persons affected, notice of the proposal to make the regulations and of the place where 1334 copies of the draft regulations may be obtained, and of the time (which shall not be less than thirty days) in which any objections with respect to the draft regulations made by or on behalf of persons affected must be sent to the Secretary of State.
§ (2) Every objection must be in writing, and state—
- (a) the specific grounds of objection;
- (b) the omissions, additions, or modifications asked for.
§ (3) The Secretary of State shall consider any objection made by or on behalf of persons appearing to him to be affected which is sent to him within the required time, and he may, before approving the special regulations, require such amendments to be made therein as he may think fit.
§ (4) If the owner or a majority of workmen who have sent any objection to any special regulations sent for approval feel aggrieved by the refusal of the Secretary of State to give effect to their objection, the matter shall be settled in manner provided by this Act for settling disputes.
§ Mr. S. ROBERTS
I beg to move, in Part II., to leave out the words, "Where the Secretary of State disapproves the special regulations, no further action shall be taken in the matter."
The House will see that by Clause 87 the inspector of a division or the owner or the majority of the workmen may ask that the general regulations should be supplemented, and can suggest special regulations to the Home Secretary, and if the Home Secretary disapproves under this Section no further action can be taken. That is quite contrary to the recommendations of the Royal Commission. Having dealt with the procedure under the Factory Act the Royal Commission stated,We have come to the conclusion, however, that, the Factory Act procedure is not altogether appropriate for the establishment of rules or regulations under the Coal Mines Regulation Acts. Having regard to the wide character of these regulations, and to the stringent requirements which may be imposed by them either on owners or workmen, we do not think the ultimate authority for making the regulations should be vested in the Secretary of State, as in the case of regulations for dangerous processes in factories. It appears to us desirable that where objections are made to regulations proposed by the Secretary of State by persons affected, whether owners or workmen, he should either withdraw that part of them to which exception is taken, or else apply to the High Court for the appointment of a referee, with or without the assistance of legal or technical assessors.My Amendment means that where the Home Secretary objects the matter should 1335 go to a referee, while if the lines remain in it is stopped, and there is no reference to any arbitration. I submit by the recommendation of the Royal Commission the Factory Act procedure is not suitable.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
This Amendment was moved in Committee and not pressed to a Division. I hope the hon. Gentleman will be able to adopt a similar course here, having made his protest, because it is not intended that this power as to special rules shall be of general application. It is rather a serious matter to say that every owner even of quite small mines shall be enabled to get out of the general regulations which have been accepted by forcing a reference to an arbitrator, with all its complications and costs that are involved. I thought we had met the hon. Gentleman by a very considerable alteration we made in dealing with the general regulations in Sub-clause 7. There we allowed objections to the general regulations on behalf, not only of the owners of mines in general, but of any class of mine or mines in specific areas. That really provides that the owner of a mine of a particular class in a particular area with an appeal against the general regulations. The whole intention and desire of the Bill carrying out the idea of the Royal Commission as far as possible, is that if the mines are to be safeguarded they should be under similar regulations.
§ Amendment negatived.
Amendment made: In paragraph (4), leave out the words "the matter shall be settled in manner provided by this Act for settling disputes," and insert instead thereof the words,
the objection shall be referred to such one of the panel of referees appointed under this Act as may be selected in manner provided by the rules made for the purpose.
If on any such reference the referee considers that the regulations should be varied to meet the objection he shall recommend any variation which he considers necessary or expedient, and the Secretary of State, before approving the regulations, shall require that variation to be made."—[Mr. Masterman.]