Mr. Herbert Gladstone received a deputation representing the Mining Association
of Great Britain on Wednesday with reference to the Government's Mines Eight Hours Bill. The Departmental Committee had estimated the reduction in the supply of coal consequent on the shortening of the hours of labour at ten per cent. Mr. Ratcliffe Ellis, in stating the case for the mine-owners, held that this was an under- estimate, and that the reduction would amount to thirteen per cent., or a shortage of 34,444,000 tons per annum calculated on the output of 1906, and contended that such decrease would prejudicially affect all industries and all classes. The deputation, while admitting that the limitation of hours was inevitable, urged that the Government's proposals should be modified in two respects,—viz., (1) that of the journeys to and, from the working face, one should be done outside of the eight hours ; (2) that whatever limitation of hours is pre- scribed, it should come into force at one blow, and not by any method of instalments. Mr. Gladstone in his reply dwelt on the friendly tone of the communications between masters and men, and expressed the hope that the Government Bill might be found to provide a basis of agreement satisfactory to both employers and employed.