§ COLONEL DENNY (Kilmarnock)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that Fireman J. K. Harrod, Royal Naval Reserve (Book, p. 3064), was engaged to serve on board the British steamer "Bivouac" at Swansea, on 9th March 1899, and was told to bring his stores and clothes aboard; that when he returned to the vessel, after having purchased his stores, he found that one J. Q. Battye, a union delegate, had supplied another fireman in his place, informing Harrod that he had no authority to ship on the vessel, as he was not a union man; whether Naval Reserve seamen are compelled to join a union before they can obtain employment in British ships; and whether the said J. Q. Battye holds a licence from the Board of Trade, under section 110 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, to supply seamen?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. C. T. RITCHIE, Croydon)
I am making inquiries in the case to which the honourable Member refers, but as both the fireman named and the steamer "Bivouac" are at sea, I am not in a position to say whether the statements in the Question are accurate or complete. Naval Reserve men are in precisely the same position as other seamen as regards employment on British ships. The owner and master are at liberty to employ whom they please, whether members of a union or not. J. Q. Battye does not hold a licence from the Board of Trade under the Merchant Shipping Act.