HC Deb 07 April 1892 vol 3 c882

I wish to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty a question of which I have given him private notice—namely, whether it is a fact that the Civil Adviser of the Devonport Dockyard, Mr. Wildish, has issued a notice or circular, dated 23rd March, which states—

"23rd March, 1892.

Please arrange that in future no stoppage of machinery for cleaning takes place on Saturday, the ordinary work of the yard going on till bell-ringing as on other days. Should experience show that this is prejudicial to the Service in any way, a Report is to be forwarded. This will, of course, not relieve the officers and men of responsibility for keeping the machinery thoroughly effective. Any necessary cleaning, &c, should be done from time to time as required."

I wish to ask him whether it is not a fact that the rule that has hitherto been in force has been that all employees should have half an hour or three-quarters of an hour for the purpose of carrying out the cleaning, and that the machinery should be stopped a given time for that purpose; whether such rule is not obligatory under the provisions of the Factory Acts, which provide that no machinery shall be cleaned whilst working; and whether, if it is found that the circular in question is a breach of the Factory Acts, it will be at once withdrawn?


The rule in question is one which the Admiralty Superintendent had power to issue, and, so far as I know, it does not contravene any portion of the Factory Acts, and, therefore, I do not propose to interfere in the matter.


Will the noble Lord state whether he will cause inquiry to be made on the point whether it is a breach of the Factory Acts, and whether I am to understand that Her Majesty's Dockyard authorities are above the Factory Acts themselves?

[No reply was given.]