HC Deb 29 March 1889 vol 334 cc1163-4

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty whether it was the fact that since 1885 the "Established" men in the Devonport dockyard have been reduced by one-seventh; whether a similar or proportional reduction had been effected in the other dockyards of the United Kingdom; what was the total number of dockyard discharges of "Established" and "non-Established" men in each of those dockyards in each of the years 1886, 1887, and 1888; and whether it was the fact that during the same period the salaries of the officers in those dockyards have been increased by some £50,000 per annum? He also wished to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty with regard to his letter of the 21st instant to the honourable the senior Member for Devonport (Sir. J. Puleston) in reference to the present dockyard discharges, in which he said— This and other work was given to the dockyard, and a large number of extra men were temporarily taken on for that purpose. Every one so taken on signed, before being employed, the form of which I enclose a copy. The work is now approaching completion, and the men engaged oh it are not required, and therefore, in accordance with the terms of their engagement, their employment lapses. The total number so affected is about 450. Whether it is the fact that in addition to the above-mentioned 450 men, some 150 to 200 other men were noticed to be discharged on Saturday last; whether those notices have been withdrawn, and on what grounds; and, if not, whether they are to be carried into effect, and at what date; whether he can state the exact number of those so discharged, or noticed to be discharged, who were employed under the written agreement mentioned in his letter; and how he explains the fact that a considerable number of men have been discharged, who, having been continuously employed in the yards and factory for periods ranging from 3 to 14 years, could not possibly have come under the terms of the signed agreement as to service referred to in his letter?


The numbers of established men at Devonport and the other dockyards have diminished since 1885 through natural causes—namely, from age entitling them to pensions, or from death—by about one-eighth. As to salaries, instead of an increase of £50,000, as suggested in the question, I believe there has been an actual decrease between 1885 and 1888.