§ 2. Mr. WILLIAM THORNE
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether a notice has been posted up at the Naval Hospital, Yarmouth, signed by Richard Millar, fleet surgeon, stating that applications in respect of pay and other questions from civilian employés in the hospital are to be sent to him by the 31st March next; whether in December last the employés' trade union sent a petition asking improved conditions of service, which was officially recognised by the Admiralty; and if he can state the reason for any proposed departure from the principle of collective bargaining?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara)
My hon. Friend is under some misapprehension. The notice in question is the preliminary to the annual hearing of petitions. Thereafter these will be heard by me either in London or the Yards, and in presenting them the workmen may have the assistance as usual of advocates not in our employment. In the case of an Establishment such as Yarmouth, where the number of employés is comparatively small, the men have the same right of petitioning as all others; and though it may not be possible for me personally to visit Yarmouth, the men can put their case to their local officers, and in any case in which they may consider it to be desirable to accord an interview to the employés or employé concerned, such employés or employé may, if they so desire, be accompanied by a person chosen by themselves, to assist them to state or argue their case.