The Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks (CAB 195/8)

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Coal: Supplementary Pensions

Coal: Supplementary Pensions

H.M. 

To be effective for purpose in mind, this must be limited to miners.
Genl. discn with T.U.'s.  Some want each discussed on merits.
Others say if done for some must go for all.
Can't believe T.U.'s wd. agree to have a scheme for miners only.
Socd indies trying to get on their feet - this wd. add much to their burdens.

T.W. 

No hope of holding man-power in mines, with full emplt., unless somethg. like this is done.
Agree - no use if all other socd indies follow suit.
Men wdn't be leavg. mines if it were true tht. miners are getting excessive rewards.

J.G. 

Miners now have big bargaining power. Comms wd. use it. The Labour men say tht. they must have a means of getting in first to preserve their hold over the men.
Advantage of scheme - not limited to giving it to miners alone.
For main purpose wd. be to hold men of over 40.
Doubtful if it's wise to promise in principle. For scheme when worked out, might be financially unattractive. Wd. rather see scheme first. Worst of both worlds to offer a scheme the men   wdn't appreciate.

E.S. 

Hope no immed. decn will be taken.
Cttee was to examine whole field.
May soon have to review age structure of our whole pensions system. We can't make sense if we yield to pressure of particular industry.
It's comparatively young men who are going - pensions doesn't hold them.
You cd. not limit this to miners. No chance of denying it to iron & steel for example. Loses advantage to mining.
Prices bound to rise in consequence.
Don't therefore do this in a panic: mark time pro tem.

G.A.I. 

Scheme for miners will be followed by demands fr. other indies.
But miners know tht. N.C.B. are willing to discuss it & are held back  by Govt.
Don't know answer to this ques. Let us therefore know what it might cost. And what advantage it wd. have for individual.

A.B. 

Mtg. of miner members of Cab. - felt tht. pensions scheme wd. be most attractive measure for holding mining man power.
Repercussions. Tell other indies they depend on coal. That their members can go into mines if they want suppl. pensions.
Let's see how individual workers behave, with a pensions scheme.
Next demand will be tht. suppl. pensions be made mobile.
That = addn to general pensions.
And makes it imposs. to use suppl. pensions as incentive to man-up undermanned industries.
Fact is, you can't hold miners under full emplt. condns w'out special  inducements.
Real problem = consciousness of lack of status of miners.
Tendency to be a class of sub-standard humans - whom girls don't want to marry.  Pension will help to give status.
If we are to do this, we must do it quickly.  Don't let's have to concede it to Homer & Moffat.
A social necessity - (prs) Ty. shd. pay.

B. 

No arrangemt. with T.U.C. wd. prevent transport workers from pressing for same concession.
If this is given, Cab. must understand that.

H.G. 

I believe A.B.'s case is unanswerable, in principle. Tho' I have h'to said stand-still.
Costs in mining will have to rise if man power is to be kept.
Don't believe you can confirm this to miners. Decn will be to lift Govt. ban on negotn. Try to hold it for a time. But you can't hold it for long. Esp. as in gas & electricity many of old workers  have pension rights.
My concln:  this is the lesser risk.
Even if gas & electricity get it, don't think that will destroy all value of concession to miners.

C.E. 

Make it a harsh scheme. No mobility.
Agree: status of miner has dropped.

N.B. 

Even in U.S. there is a scheme of pensions for miners.
N.C.B. can't produce a firm plan w'out consultn with N.U.M.
But for 1/= a ton they believe they can get attractive scheme.

E.B. 

Flat rate scheme won't work now.  Must have somethg. proportionate to earnings.
Need it cost 1/= a ton.  Always some saving to be made. cf. I.C.I. scheme, where a man cd. buy units of pension insurce & their turn-over of labour dropped fr. 30% to 4%.
Do we know enough about turn-over.
Think there must be a scheme. But we mustn't rush it.
Only chance of quick action wd. be an improvised scheme.

G.T. 

Favour units system. Minimum, wh. follows you round: and individuals buying units in addn. Then it wdn't have to be limited to miners.
Agreed:  H.G., M/N.I., M/F & P., M/L & prs. a miner
               Member of Cab. shd. now see T.U.C. & try to get their support for an approach on these lines.

Taken from C.M. 83(50) - Meeting held on 7 December 1950.