HC Deb 21 July 1910 vol 19 cc1440-1

asked the Prime Minister if his attention has been called to the case of a farm labourer who recently sued unsuccessfully for nine months' wages in the Driffield County Court, he having been summarily dismissed for demanding time for his meals; and will he introduce legislation which will repeal the existing law which enables a farmer to dismiss a hired servant on a paltry pretext and to appropriate all wages earned and due?

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)

The facts are not quite accurately summarised in the question. From the report of the case furnished to me by my hon. Friend it appears that the cause of the labourer's dismissal was his refusal to obey a lawful order given by his employer. It seems a hardship that the result of this single act of disobedience should involve the loss by the labourer of all remuneration for his preceding services, but it must be remembered that the labourer under a general hiring is certain of a year's employment, and that he cannot be dismissed during the twelve months except for misconduct. I will consider the desirability of introducing legislation to mitigate the rigour of the common law in such cases.