HC Deb 15 May 1907 vol 174 cc942-3

To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that the Metropolitan Water Board are endeavouring to evade the provisions of Section 47, Sub-section 1, of The Metropolis Water Act, 1902, by forcing their transferred officers and servants to sign away their rights and privileges granted them by that Act under threat of not granting them any increase of salary or wages unless they do so; is he aware that Lord Balfour, the chairman of the Joint Select Committee, stated that the Committee's desire would be to put them in absolutely the position which, as reasonable men, they might reasonably look forward to if there had been no such Bill as this, which was endorsed by the counsel to the Local Government Board, the promoters of the Bill; whether he has any jurisdiction in the matter; and, if not, whether he will consider the advisability of introducing in any similar Bills in the future a right of appeal by the parties concerned to the Local Government Board.

(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I have made inquiry on this subject and am informed that, where an officer transferred from one of the water companies to the Water Board is promoted to a higher office or greater emoluments than he was entitled to under the terms of his service with the company, the Water Board impose a condition that the advantages given to him shall not at some future time be made a ground for claiming also additional superannuation, or like allowance, to which he would not have been entitled under the terms of his service with the company. I am aware of the statements which were by Lord Balfour and by the counsel for the Local Government Board on the Bill for the Act of 1902, and which are referred to in the Question, but I find that the Water Board do not regard their action as forcing the transferred officers and servants to sign away their rights and privileges under the Act. I have no jurisdiction in the matter; but I will note the suggestion of the hon. Member.