HC Deb 01 August 1905 vol 150 cc1149-50
MR. SHACKLETON (Lancashire, Clitheroe)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that deductions are being made from the wages of the men imported to work for Messrs. T. and J. Harrison, ship owners, of Liverpool, for tobacco, clothes, and boots; if so, whether, in view of the provisions of the Truck Act, he will take steps to prevent it.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) I have made inquiries and am informed that, for the convenience of the men, clothes, boots, and tobacco are supplied by the Shipping Federation, which employs them, at cost price to any man applying. It is not illegal under the Truck Acts for an employer to sell goods to a workman employed by him, and in this particular case, as the clothes and boots are purchased wholesale and all the goods are supplied at cost price, the men would seem to be gainers by the arrangement. It appears, however, that the price of the goods supplied is deducted from the wages, the man being furnished with a note showing the goods supplied and price, and also the wages earned, and receiving only the balance. This, I think, is a contravention of the Act, which requires the entire amount of the wages earned to be paid in current coin. As regards the last part of the hon. Member's Question, the case is not one arising in a factory or workshop, and the inspector has no power, therefore, under Section 13 of the Act of 1887, to take any action in the matter.