HC Deb 25 May 1916 vol 82 cc2289-90
61. Mr. C. DUNCAN

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty whether at Liverpool the transport officer has informed the Seamen's and Firemen's Union and the National Union of Ship Stewards that the £1 extra bonus to members of crews was to be discontinued; whether this was done with the sanction of the Admiralty, in view of the agreement entered into with the unions so recently as the 1st of May; whether a crew was signed on for the steamship "Netherlee" at the rates hid down in the agreement, and that six lays afterwards, the vessel being still in port, the local transport officer issued orders that the crew should be signed off; that this was done on the 12th of May, the crew receiving fifteen days' pay; that the following day they were invited to sign of again at the reduced rate; that the men declined; that the next day a crew, the salors and firemen of which were all Chines, was signed on at rates of £2 and £2 10s. under the port rate; and whether he will stat the reason for this action on the part of the Admiralty in violating their own agreement?


At the beginning of the War the Admiralty undertook to pay the sum of £1 per month over he then port rates, in consideration mainly of the nature of Admiralty service. That is the only agreement entered into by the Admiralty. It has never been violated in any way Recently the Liverpool Employers' Association, the Seamen's and Firemen's Union, and the National Union of Ships' Stewards, entered into an agreement under which wages in merchant ships engaged on commercial work sailing from that port were to be raised to the level which would cover the £1 extra being paid in Admiralty requisitioned steamers. The unions now ask that we should add a further £1, so far as Liverpool is concerned, to the commercial rates now secured, irrespective of the fact that those rates have reached a level considerably beyond the level at which they were when our agreement was entered into. This we have refused to do. As regards the "Netherlee," mention was made of the matter to me on the 15th May by Liverpool representatives of the unions, who promised me the facts in order that I might investigate them. I have not yet received the information.