§ MR. KEIR HARDIE (West Ham, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether a section of the workmen at the Government Victualling Yard, Deptford, petitioned the authorities some six weeks ago asking that wages should be paid for the four statutory holidays—namely, Coronation Day, Queen's Birthday, Good Friday, and Christmas Day; whether some of those who signed the Petition were censured, 893 while others had their wages reduced, and three, including Edward Pluck, who afterwards committed suicide, were dismissed as a punishment for having signed the Petition; and whether this action has been taken with the sanction of the Government?
§ THE CIVIL LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. E. ROBERTSON,) Dundee
The answer to the first paragraph of the hon. Member's question is in the affirmative. The 15 men who signed the Petition were not engaged by the Admiralty, but were the servants of the contractor who has the contract for the repairs and maintenance works at Deptford. They petitioned to be placed on the same footing as men in the direct employment of the Admiralty. As to the second paragraph, I have ascertained, on inquiry, that three of the men who signed the Petition, including Edward Pluck, were withdrawn by the contractor from the works at Deptford. I have no official information as to any other dealings of the contractor with his workmen, and the Admiralty has no power over them, and no responsibility for them.
§ * MR. KEIR HARDIE
In consequence of the answer I have received, I beg to give notice of my intention at the close of the questions to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House.