§ 15. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that many of the dock workers around the Albert and Victoria Docks are protesting against the posters that are being posted up day by day saying that 200, 300, and 400 men are wanted at a certain line of boats in the docks; if he is aware that one day only 200 men were taken on to work New Zealand boats out of the 400 wanted; if he is aware that there are hundreds of dockers hanging around the docks who are not working more than two and three days a week; if he is aware that there are three calls a day at the various docks—namely, 6.45, 8.45, and 12.45; if he is aware that, in consequence of advertising for men to assemble at a particular day and time, dockers very often lose work at other places of call; and if he intends taking any action in the matter?
Regulations made by the Board of Trade have been in operation since 26th June last under 652 which posters are exhibited daily in the Albert and Victoria Docks, stating the number of men required by the various employers. These arrangements, which which are still in the experimental stage, appear to be working satisfactorily, and no protests against them have been received by the Board. I have not been able to trace the case referred to by my hon. Friend where 200 were taken on out of 400 wanted, and the records show that in the absence of special circumstances the numbers taken on are well up to those stated in the notices. No statistics are available as to the number of days per week worked by individual dock labourers. The Board understand, however, that there is less employment during June and July than at other periods in the year. In the particular docks in question there appear to be three calls—i.e., at 6.45, 7.45, and 12.45—and a call at 8.45 which is not general. The object of the arrangements above referred to is to give the men notice of the places at which labour is required, and it would appear that the arrangements must tend to diminish and not to increase the risk of men losing, work through attending at the wrong place of call.