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Miners' Hours.

Friday afternoon's sitting of the House was practically occupied with discussing the report of the Mines Committee supporting a petition from the Amalgamated Miners Union and others, urging that the working hours of underground miners be shortened The discussion was initiated by _^ Mr K M'KeDzie, who referred to the Coal Miners Act' Amendment Bill (introduced by Mr Colvin), which provides for the limitation of underground miners' work to eight hoars from bank to bank. He protested against the policy of the Mines Department on this head, and assured the House that if he acted on his own opinion of the present administration of the Mines Dapartment he wonld not support the Ministry for five minutes. He arged that the position of the working miners was a serious one, and it was time that the legislation asked for ten years ago be placed on the Statute Book. . Mine owners at present were exacting eight and a-hftlf hours' work for eight hours' pay. The Minister of Mines, after sarcastically thanking~Mr M'Kenzie for his reflections, claimed that his administration of the Mines Department had been in the best interest of the miners as a whole. The hon member for Motueka was working in the interests of a particular class. Hie (the Minister) had~to work in the interests of the whole colony. He thought that if adopted Mr Colvin'a Bill (fixing the miners' hours at eight) would be a blow to the Arbitration Court. He had on previous occasions been on the un-popular-side; and although on the uapopular Bide in this case, he felt that he was doing his duty. Messrs James Allen, Herries and Jennings thought that the Arbitration Curt should decide wages and hours of labor. The Premier said that he did not agree with his colleague the Minister of Mines on the question. involved in Mr Colvin'a Bill. He was in favor of fixing by statute the maximum hours to be worked by underground miners. He lamented the failure of four or fiva companies that he knew of to deal fairly with their workmen in the matter of giving facilities to leave their mines when work was over. It was wrong of the companies, he thought, not to place the cages and truck's at the men's disposal to bring them cut of the mines. Mr Ell moved as an amendment that the report be referred back to the Committee. He declared that no miner should be required to work longer than eight hours. After considerable discussion the amendment was negatived on the voices, and the recommendation in favor of shortening the hours of those miners employed underground referred -to the Government for favorable consideration; - Thc'same Committee -have struck out of Mr Oolvln's Bill the clause providing that a miner shall be entitled to be paid overtime when he is employed underground in a mine for more than eight hours a day. As was pointed out in the course of the debate, there is a conflict in the two recommendations of the Committee. — Star. .

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Bibliographic details

Bruce Herald, Bruce Herald, Volume XXXIX, Issue 164, 25 August 1903

Word Count

Miners' Hours. Bruce Herald, Volume XXXIX, Issue 164, 25 August 1903