HC Deb 22 May 1905 vol 146 cc941-2
MR. JOHN HOWARD (Kent, Faversham)

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that overtime is being worked by the very class of men employed at Sheerness Dockyard who are being discharged; and whether, in view of the amount of work in hand at the present time, and likely to be undertaken in Sheerness Dockyard, he will consider the advisability, with a view to retaining men who are being discharged, and who are given as likely to be discharged, of stopping overtime for the present.

(Answered by Mr. Pretyman.) No overtime is being worked by the classes of men from whom discharges are being made at Sheerness Dockyard, except on one small special job, on which it is impossible to put more men, and which must be completed by the end of the month. A certain amount of overtime is necessary each week, but this is of such a character as is essential for the economical working of the yard, e.g., lighting fires and furnaces before bell-ringing, pumping water, making good any breakdown to shop machinery, etc. This class of work is performed by men specially selected for the purpose. Such overtime, therefore, being normal, does not affect the number of discharges, which were calculated after making allowance for overtime of the nature stated and wastage due to death, superannuation, etc. The amount of work now in hand at Sheerness and in prospect for the next few months has led to the discharges being increased from twelve to twenty per week for the present, in order that the men borne on the books may be remuneratively employed.