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Friday, 6 March 1942

Mr JAMES - Will the Minister for Labour and National Service inform me whether trouble is likely on the coal-fields due to the introduction of a new coalcutting and mechanical loading device for work in connexion with the afternoon shift at the Richmond Main collieries? The reason given for the introduction of the machinery is that it would speed up production, by 150 to 200 tons, to 2,400 tons a day. Is the Minister aware that under the old method, with the use of the existing coal-cutting and puncher machinery, the output was as high as 3,000 tons a day? With the object of maintaining harmony in the industry, will the Minister consider providing for either the nationalization of the industry or the issue of regulations forbidding the introduction of the now machinery, seeing that it will lessen and not increase production, particularly if the men refuse to work.

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