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Coalowners and Eight Hours…

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Coalowners and Eight Hours Bill. Intimation to Terminate Present Agreement. At u meeting of the South Wales and Monmouthshire Coal Conciliation Board on Monday, the employers' representa- tives raised the question of the Coal Mines- Regulation Act, 1908 (Eicrht Hours Act), which provides for the reduction >1 the underground workmen's hours to a, f&aximum of eight hours a day, and intimated to the workmen's representa- tives that the employers are advised by counsel that the present agreement will terminate on the coming into force of the new Act, instead of terminating at the earliest in 1910, as is provided for in the agreement. The employers" there fQre, expressed their willingness to meet the workmen's representatives and dis- tWss terms for a. new agreement; and the important!' re-arranigementa which must lollow as a consequence of the new Act. "The employers' representatives reminded the workmen's representatives that the colliery owners of the United Kingdom h waited upon the Home Secretary while the Eight Horns Bill was under COt sideracion by the Government, and had "^awn attention to the fact that a wag^s contract with the workmen existed in QUuth Wales, and had strongly urged that, if the passing of the new Act was inevitable, its coming into operation should not be enforced earlier than 1910, that contract could terminate. The employers said that they felt their efforts to secure the continuity of the listing agreement up to the end of the present year- should have received the of the workmen's representa- tives in Parliament, wlxo were parties to the agreement, but, however, supported the Government in ignoring the contract In their reply the workmen's represen- tatives expressed astonishment at the opinion given on the legal position, adding that as they had not themselves received advice on the matter, they could t make any official representation on the point raised. They could not agree to the interpretation as declared by Mr. L. Davis, and they declined to agree to the proposition that the agreement expire before the end of the year. They were, however, prepared to meet the owners at any time with a view of re- adjusting the hours of working before **Uly 1st. Mr. F. L. Davis suggested that the should obtain counsel's opinion on their own part, after which the Con- Cihation Board might discuss the whole Position. No decision war, arrived at, and the conference terminated. --+-

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