§ Mr. Onslow
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many man-hours were lost by absenteeism amongst employees of the National Coal Board in each of the past five years.
§ Mr. Ridley
Absence in the coal-mining industry is measured by the number of non-appearances. A distinction is made between voluntary absence, which occurs when a mineworker is away from work without good cause; and involuntary absence, when a worker is absent owing to sickness, industrial disease or injury, or for other authorised reasons.
The following table shows the number of appearances lost by absenteeism over the last five years.
to key points of food production and processing.
§ Mr. John Davies
No, unfortunately the number of mobile generators available is sufficient only to cover the most essential needs at major hospitals, water works and sewerage plants. I recognise that the production of the nation's food is essential and have therefore excluded premises engaged on this activity from those served with Directions regulating or prohibiting the consumption of electricity. It is not however possible to exempt them from rota power cuts. To do so would mean leaving large numbers of non-essential users connected and would increase the load on the supply system unacceptably.
§ Mr. Pavitt
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make 187W special arrangements to deal with the problem of an intermittent electric supply to plants processing milk and sterilising milk bottles in places where the volume of supply covers a large section of the population.
§ Mr. John Davies
Milk processing plants are exempt from electricity restrictions made under Regulation 17(2) but may be subject to rota cuts, in common with almost all consumers of electricity. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and I are watching the milk supply position closely.