§ MR. S. WOODS (Essex, Walthamstow)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that under the Truck Act, 1896, several of the large railway companies and some of the printing trades have posted up in their works long lists 973 of new additional fines to be taken from their employees' wages, to which fines the workmen object; and if he will take the necessary steps to remedy the grievances of which the workmen complain.
§ MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid.)
said before the right hon. Gentleman answered this Question he would ask him another anent this matter—namely, whether deductions are made legal simply by posting a list of them without previous consultation with the workmen and their agreement in such fines being imposed; and whether, as a primary step, workmen were consulted and their assent obtained to the breaking of an existing contract?
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY,) Lancashire, Blackpool
I do not quite follow the Question of the hon. Member, but perhaps he will communicate with me afterwards. In reference to the Question on the Paper I have to say no, I am not aware that any new additional fines have been posted up. What has happened is that the companies, under the obligation imposed by the Act, have posted all the fines which they held themselves formerly entitled to inflict. The result of this compulsory publication has been to make these fines subject to criticism and enable such as are objectionable to be abolished. I am taking steps at the present time to obtain information with the view to removing any grievances that may exist under the Act.
§ SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say, does the Truck Act of 1896 impose any fines whatever on the workmen?
§ *SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
No, it imposes no fines whatever. ["Hear, hear!"] What it does, as I have more than once explained, is, it compels the publication of fines not previously illegal in order that it may be seen if those fines are now really legal or not under the other provisions of the Act.
§ MR. J. SAMUEL
Is the right hon. Gentleman in a position to inform the House of the number of applications under Section 9—