§ SIR CHARLES CAYZER (Barrow-in-Furness)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the numerous protests from Foresters, Free Gardeners, Hearts of Oak, Rechabites, and other friendly societies in Barrow-in-Furness, and elsewhere throughout the country, against employers of labour compelling workmen, as a condition of employment, to join a shop club and cease their membership of any friendly society to which they may belong; and what steps Her Majesty's Government intend to take in this matter?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir M. W. RIDLEY,) Lancashire, Blackpool
I have already answered several Questions on 1534 this subject. Numerous resolutions, all in identical terms, have reached me to the effect mentioned in the Question; but I have no power to interfere. If the action of employers is as stated, some hardship will doubtless be caused in individual cases; but the matter can only be dealt with by legislation, which, even if desirable, would be full of difficulty, and under these circumstances I must say I am not prepared to make any promise on behalf of the Government.
§ SIR C. CAYZER
Will the right honourable Gentleman give instructions to the inspectors of factories to report to him all cases in which this condition is enforced, in order that there may be a thorough investigation. It greatly concerns the existence and progress of friendly societies.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
I do not think that this is a matter on which I can properly consult the inspectors, but I quite agree that it is desirable to obtain reliable information on the subject, and I will endeavour to get it.