§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is the fact that, on Saturday, 30 shipwrights were discharged from and left Devonport Dockyard; that the same number of mechanics were given notice to quit a week hence; and that an average of about 30 men, 512 mostly all shipwrights, will be discharged from the yard each week for the next two months; what is the total number of mechanics, shipwrights, and other Dockyard men who have been discharged from the Devonport and other Dockyards respectively, since the month of November last, when these discharges commenced; whether it is contemplated to continue these discharges, and to what extent; whether the Admiralty contemplate reducing the strength of the employés in other Departments; and, whether the Admiralty have, at the same time, dispensed with the services, or cut down the salaries, of any, and which, of the superior officials connected with the said Dockyard?
§ THE FIRST LORD (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON) (Middlesex, Ealing)
The number of men in the Dockyards was last year largely in excess of the requirements of the Service, and we have had imposed upon us the unpleasant duty of discharging the redundant number of hired men, who ought in past years to have been discharged at the completion of the work for which they were engaged, and we must continue these reductions until the numbers are adjusted to the work to be done. The salaries of nearly the whole of the superior officials were fixed when the numbers of men employed were much lower than they are present; and these officers, as well as the shipwrights and other employés on the establishment, are, in contradistinction to the hired men, entitled to continuous employment.