§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE (Bristol, E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he will make inquiry into the alleged discharge by Messrs. Lysaght, of Bristol, Government contractors, of workmen on account of their membership of a trade union, during the continuance of a running contract; and whether, if this be so, it is not a violation of the pledge given by Sir John Hibbert and the hon. Member for Poplar, on behalf of the Government, on 3rd August, 1893, in interpretation of the Fair Wages Resolution.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. PRETYMAN,) Suffolk, Woodbridge
Inquiry has been made and Messrs. Lysaght state that the discharges referred to were due to shortness of orders, but that a preference was shown to non-union men. It is difficult to say whether this constitutes any breach of the undertaking referred to in the second part of the Question, but the Admiralty are prepared to do what they can to prevent any preference being shown by contractors as between unionists and non-unionists.
§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE
May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether on behalf of his Department he will make inquiry, or rather cause inquiry to be made, into the facts which are alleged in the Question, viz., that unionists were discharged on account of their membership of a trades union. I am prepared to bring evidence in support of that.
§ MR. PRETYMAN
Any evidence the hon. Member desires to put before the Admiralty will have most careful consideration, and inquiry will of course be made.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
What has been the form of the inquiry? Has it been personal or by correspondence?
AS I indicated in my Answer, Messrs. Lysaght have been asked for an explanation, and the one they supplied I have communicated to the House.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
If my hon. friend brings evidence, as he says he is prepared to do, will the hon. Gentleman make personal inquiry?
§ MR. SHACKLETON (Lancashire, Clitheroe)
And will he make inquiry from the officials of the unions to which the men discharged belong?