HC Deb 17 August 1916 vol 85 cc2037-8
31. Mr. CROOKS

asked the Minister of Munitions whether he is aware that 200 soldiers have recently been employed in the Army Ordnance Department and by the Chief Inspection Department, Woolwich, working in two batches on day and night shift, for an average of thirteen hours per shift, without extra pay, and were marched to and from the place of work; whether he is aware that numbers of workmen, some of them married, who were employed on the class of work to which these soldiers were put have recently been discharged; and whether, in view of the pledges given against any introduction of industrial compulsion, he will take into consideration the advisability of placing all departments at Woolwich under civilian control?


A party of soldiers have been employed in one of the Departments at Woolwich. The hours worked were, by the day-shift, nine hours, less breaks of about one and three-quarter hours, and, by the night-shift, ten hours, less breaks of about one and a half hours. It is not the case that civilian labourers engaged on similar work were discharged. On the contrary, about thirty new labourers were engaged during the time when the soldiers were working. The work is of a heavy character, and it is impossible to satisfy the urgent demands for this particular class of labour.


Will these soldiers be paid?