HC Deb 31 August 1893 vol 16 cc1567-9
MR. BEITH (Inverness, &c.)

In the absence of the hon. Member for Argyll, I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland upon what ground a force of police has been sent from Oban to Cullipool; whether there has been any disturbance requiring the presence of extra police; whether the extra police are boarded in the house of the lessees of the quarries, who are one of the parties to a dispute which has arisen about the payment of wages; and whether the lessees of the quarries keep a store, and in the dealings with the quarriers infringe the provisions of the Truck Act?


In reply to the hon. Member, I may state that the Chief Constable instructed his Superintendent and two constables to go to Cullipool, in consequence of a report received from the Superintendent at Oban intimating that a strike had taken place amongst the quarriers there, and that a disturbance was anticipated. The disturbance was of such a nature as to demand the presence of some extra police, with a view to the preservation of the public peace. I understand that one of these constables was lodged in one of the lessees' houses, as no other accommodation was available. The lessees have no store at Cullipool, but they have one at their Toberonochy quarries. A complaint has been made to the Crown Authorities of a contravention of the Truck Act; but after a full inquiry, and upon the statements of the quarriers themselves, it does not appear to be well founded. I am glad to add, from a telegram received from the Chief Constable, that the strike is now at an end.


I beg, on behalf of the hon. Member for Argyll, to ask the Lord Advocate if his attention has been called to the complaint of the men working in the quarries owned by Maclean and Co., at Cullipool Easdale, that their wages are paid only once in three mouths, and that a deputation of the men who waited upon Maclean and Co., asking for payment once in six weeks, was informed that they would pay the men "when they saw proper," and that anyone refusing those terms would "be compelled to clear out of the houses immediately," and that the spokesman "would be at once dismissed"; and whether he is aware that the houses referred to were built by the men and their forefathers?

*THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR,) Clackmannan, &c.

It is the fact that a deputation of the slate quarriers waited upon Messrs. Maclean and Co., lessees of the Cullipool quarries, asking payment of their wages every six weeks, and that the quarriers refused to resume work unless their request was granted. They came to terms on all points except in regard to the occupation of their houses some time ago; and from a telegram received yesterday I conclude that this matter has also now been arranged. The houses are held by the Messrs. Maclean along with the quarries under lease from Lord Breadalbane. I have no information as to the persons by whom the houses were originally built.