§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that, on 21st June, 1909, Mr. S. D. Holden, locomotive superintendent of the Great Eastern Railway, stated, in his evidence to Lord Gorell in the Wages and Hours Arbitration, that in such work as that on the branch line between Mellis and Eye the Great Eastern Railway employs railway drivers who are not sharp and whom he would not dare put on a fast passenger train or mischief comes; is he aware that many important trains on these branches, such as those from Yarmouth to Cardiff or to Peterborough and York, as well as dining-car trains to Hunstanton, are worked by the men so described; is he aware that some thirty-two men at King's Lynn have had their wages reduced in consequence of the awards made upon this evidence; and, if so, can he take any steps to remedy this state of things?
The award of Lord Gorell, which was made after a hearing of arguments and evidence submitted on behalf of the railway company and the employés, provided that the company should be at liberty to vary the rates of pay of drivers on certain specified branch lines, but not so as to reduce them below the minimum drivers' rate for the district, and I presume that the reduction of wages to which my hon. Friend refers was made under this provision. I have no power to take any action to vary rates of pay which have been fixed in accordance with the award.