§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the decision of the Bristol magistrates in the case of Squire v. Wathen, Gardiner, and Company, Clothiers, that the deduction of £2 5s., spread over two years, from the earnings of Caroline Lloyd, tailoress, for damage done to twelve pairs of trousers, for which she was paid 6½d per pair, the 11 damage consisting of wrongly placed pockets, no patterns or instructions having been given, was fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case; whether he will consider the desirability of amending Section 2, Sub-section (1) (c), of the Track Act of 1896 in order to protect the worker from such deductions; And whether, in the further case of Squire v. Broderick and Company, taken under Section 3 of the Truck Act, 1831, in which a pair of damaged trousers had been given to the worker in lieu of wage, the Home Office contemplates appealing to a higher court against the decision of the Bristol magistrates dismissing the case.
(Answer.) Though the magistrates in the first case mentioned did give the decision stated as to what was a fair and reasonable deduction, they convicted the defendants on another charge in connection with the same case, and I believe there is reason to hope that the publicity given to the matter may lead to a change of practice among the wholesale tailors at Bristol. I am keeping a watch upon the operation of the enactment referred to, to see that it does not admit of a general practice of imposing unreasonable deductions against which it offers, as administered, no sufficient redress; and if at any time I find sufficient cause for amending the section I shall be prepared to undertake it. In the second case steps were taken with my sanction for carrying the matter to appeal.—(Home Office.)