§ SIR CHARLES DILKE, (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that many girls engaged in the textile trades in Belfast, have struck against the long lists of large fines recently placarded in the mills; and, whether instructions have been given, either to the local Inspector of Factories, or to the Women's Factory-inspection Department of the Home Office, to inquire whether the proposed fines are "fair and reasonable" under the Truck Act of 1895, with a view to their carrying out the duty of enforcement of the law imposed by the Truck Act of 1887?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY,) Lancashire, Blackpool
Yes, Sir, the strike in question has been engaging my anxious 1035 attention. I understand that many of the workpeople have returned to work, and I have been hoping that the matter would be settled by mutual agreement; if, however, this should fail, it may be necessary to have recourse to proceedings under the Track Act of last Session, which, for the first time gives the workers full protection against all unfair or unreasonable fines. It is the duty of the inspector, with whom I am in constant communication, to see that the Act is complied with, and very precise instructions have been given to him and all the inspectors on the subject.