16 APRIL 1921, Page 2

On Thursday,' April 7th, the Prime Minister met the miners'

leaders and invited them to confer with the coal-owners about wages, subject to the condition that the pumpmen should return to work at the pits. The miners rejected the condition, unless the Government agreed in advance to a national wage board and to the pooling of the profits—and losses—of all collieries, which would imply the re-establishment of State control of the mines. The Prime Minister in the afternoon gave the House of Commons an account of the conference, which led to a lengthy debate. Mr. Asquith warned the miners that their deliberate refusal to prevent the mines from being flooded was prejudicing their case with the public. Ultimately it was suggested that the Prime Minister should ask the miners and coal-owners to meet, on condition that the first question discussed was that of manning the pumps.