HC Deb 16 June 1890 vol 345 cc1033-4
MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

I wish to ask the Secretary of State for War whether a pattern maker named Barton, till recently employed in the Woolwich Arsenal, was discharged on the 3rd June, at one day's notice, on the ground of alleged slackness of work, without any extra pay or other compensation; how long had the man been employed in the Arsenal; did he, in the course of his work, receive severe injuries, which caused the loss of two fingers of his left hand, some 13 months ago; is it not the practice that when men have to be discharged for slackness of work at the Arsenal those who have met with accidents are by preference retained; whether, after his accident, a foreman sent for him and requested him to sign papers debarring him from receiving compensation for his injuries, and on the man asking what compensation he would receive that information was refused; what time was allowed him for deliberation or consultation with his friends as to whether he would be well advised in signing for or against compensation; did the fact that this man took the chair at a meeting in support of Mr. Martin Edmunds, the Liberal candidate for Woolwich, and formed a Union of Arsenal Labourers, constitute an offence in the eyes of the Arsenal Authorities; and whether he will now consider Barton's case, with a view to his re instatement or compensation for the injuries he has received?


The pattern maker, named Barton, was discharged as stated with other men, after a service of one year and eight months. Thirteen months ago he lost the little finger of his left hand. There is no rule as to the retention of men who have met with accidents. Barton was discharged in a necessary reduction as one of the men with shortest service, and therefore least claim to be retained. At the time of his accident he was, according to custom, called upon to decide whether he would continue on his then rating or accept a reduced rating and have his case put for ward for compensation. He was given the remainder of the day for decision. As to this, I may perhaps explain that if a man continues able to earn his full wages the Treasury will not regard it as a case for compensation. The fact of the man taking the chair at a political meeting was not even known to the authorities in the Arsenal. It is not considered that Barton has any claim on the Department.