§ MR. FELL (Great Yarmouth)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if any workmen have been discharged from Woolwich Arsenal since 1st January last, and, if so, how many; and whether 1229 any more are to be discharged during the remainder of the year.
§ MR. HALDANE
Excluding boys whom it has been found impossible to engage as men on reaching the age of twenty-one, thirty men have been discharged (all at their own request) during the period 4th January, 1908, to 27th June, 1908, from the factories for which a minimum establishment was fixed. In addition, during the same period, forty-five men have been discharged, as is usual during the summer months, from the Building Works Department, for which no minimum was fixed. No men have been discharged on reduction; and it is not anticipated that any men will be so discharged during the remainder of the year from the factories for which a minimum establishment has been fixed, except at their own request, or in cases where they have completed some special work for which they were specially engaged.
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD (Essex, Epping)
May I ask whether, when the numbers of workmen are increased, favourable consideration will be given to the claims of the men who have been discharged?
§ MR. HALDANE
I should think wherever that can be done it will be done. We are very reluctant to discharge anybody, and those who are discharged will have the first chance.