§ 51. Mr. William Foster
asked the Minister of Labour whether vacancies for underground work in the mining industry are notified at the local employment exchanges; and if he will give the number of miners or ex-miners obtained from this source for the three months ended 31st March this year.
§ The Minister of Labour (Mr. Isaacs)
I am informed that the National Coal Board have instructed colliery managements to notify all vacancies in the coalmining industry to local offices of my Department. No special record is kept of the number of miners placed, but during the 13 weeks ended 29th March, 3,400 ex-miners have been placed in coalmining employment by my local offices.
§ 52. Mr. W. Foster
asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the large number of ex-miners signing on at the local employment exchanges; and what steps he is taking to ascertain their fitness for suitable work in the mining industry.
§ Mr. Isaacs
As regards the first part of the Question I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. D. J. Williams), on 15th April. As regards the second part, all ex-miners who are not obviously unfit and who are willing to return to coalmining employment are submitted by my local offices to the National Coal Board. The Board are responsible for resolving any doubts as to their medical fitness.
§ Mr. Foster
Is my right hon. Friend not aware that there are a large number of ex-miners signing on at the employment exchanges who are suffering from some slight disability by which they are precluded from entering industry, but who could perform some useful work in the mining industry and so release pit men to go to the coal face and help to increase coal production?
§ Mr. Isaacs
I should be most grateful if I could have particulars of such cases. The point is that if a man is unfit, we cannot employ him, and, if there is any doubt, he goes to the National Coal Board, which decides his fitness, but there is a very successful effort being made to find work in the mines for these men who are incapacitated but who are capable of doing other work.