§ Mr. FIELD
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department 1419 whether he is aware that the Great Southern and Western Railway Company, Ireland, make it a condition of service that all employees shall join the sick benefit society controlled entirely by the directors; that the directors claim to alter the rules at any time Without notice to the men, who contribute nearly the whole of the money to the society; and that they did so alter the rules as to deprive the men of the benefits in cases of accident arising in the course of their employment; and, if so, whether he will take steps, by legislation or otherwise, to defend the interests of these employees.
§ * THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOB THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. AKERS-DOUGLAS,) Kent, St. Augustine's
The hon. Member has been good enough to send me some papers on this subject, but beyond that I have no information relating to it. As to the first part of the Question, I may point out that the Shop Clubs Act, 1902, expressly exempts a railway benefit society, existing at the passing of the Act and contributed to by the company, from the provisions prohibiting compulsory membership. With regard to the alteration of the rules mentioned in the Question, I gather that it was done because the Workmen's Compensation Act provides for the payment of compensation to railway servants in cases of accident. I have no power to interfere, nor can I hold out any hope of legislation in the matter.