§ 36. Mr. BYRNE
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that the Belgian Refugees Committee (Ireland) have supplied a man through the Labour Exchange to a glass manufacturing firm in Dublin whose employés were on strike; whether, as the Belgian Refugees Committee in Ireland is under the control of the Local Government Board, he will take steps to withdraw the services of this man; and if he will see that in future no Government Department will supply strike breakers to employers?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I am informed that on application from a glass-manufacturing firm in Dublin the Belgian Refugees Committee forwarded an offer of work to the refugee, who accepted the employment. After the refugee had been a few days in the employment of this firm representatives of the Amalgamated Society of Decorative Glassworkers called and asked the Belgian Refugee's Committee to withdraw the Belgian from his employment, this being the first intimation the committee had that a strike was in progress. The facts of the case, as represented by the firm and by the Amalgamated Society of Glassworkers, were duly considered by the Belgian Refugees Committee, who decided to have the correspondence translated for the refugee in question, leaving him free to act as he thought fit. Belgian refugees, when self-supporting, are outside the control of the Belgian Refugees Committee or the Local Government Board, and neither the committee nor the Board has power to interfere with them if they choose to work for an employer whose workmen are on strike. I am informed by the Board of Trade that the local Labour Exchange did not supply the employers concerned with any Belgian workpeople.
§ Mr. BYRNE
Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the question as to whether or not the man will be withdrawn, seeing he was supplied by the Belgian Refugees Committee, which is under the control of the Local Government Board of Ireland? 1441 Further, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether after the War the Belgian Refugees Committee will be allowed to act as strike breakers, because if this sort of thing is applied to Ireland it naturally will apply to England too?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I do not know that I can answer that, at all events without notice, but in the answer which I have given I have pointed out to the hon. Member that Belgian refugees having obtained work, and thereupon become self-supporting, cannot be withdrawn by the Belgian Refugees Committee.