§ MR. J. CALDWELL (Mid Lanark)
I beg to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty (1) whether the Admiralty have yet completed their investigations into the complaint against the Clyde Bridge Steel Works and Moss End Steel Works (who supply steel plates for Government contracts), of not only employing non-union men and paying less than trade union rate of wages, but of refusing to employ trades union labour, and dismissing men because they belonged to their trade society; and (2) whether the complainers will, if need be, have an opportunity of still further substantiating their statements?
§ THE CIVIL LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. EDMUND ROBERTSON, Dundee)
(1) The allegations contained in a letter from Mr. Cronin have been referred in the usual course to the principal contractors, who have called upon the subcontractors mentioned for explanations. These gentlemen positively deny the accuracy of the statements made. (2) The Admiralty are willing to receive any further statement from the complainants.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury why Government contracts still remain with firms who fail to comply with the spirit of the Resolution of the House of Commons as regards sub-letting and fair wages, passed in 1891 and renewed in 1893?
§ SIR JOHN HIBBERT
I am not aware that there are any firms holding contracts from the Stationery Office that have failed to comply with the spirit of the Resolution of 1891; but, of course, 584 the Controller has not the same power of dealing with contracts which were in existence at the time of the passing of the Resolution and have not yet expired as he has in dealing with contracts granted since that date. The contracts referred to will all expire in 1896, and the question of future arrangements as regards printing and binding will be brought before the Select Committee, which will be appointed after Easter.
§ MR. C. J. DARLING (Deptford)
did not understand that the question was wholly confined to the Stationery Office. He desired to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Treasury had received representations from their own workmen at the Deptford yard that the Resolution of the House was not carried out.
§ SIR JOHN HIBBERT
I have nothing to do with the yard at Deptford; I have quite enough to do without that.