1. Mr. TYSON WILSON
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the men in the victualling department of the transport "Huntsgreen," chartered by the Orient Line, were offered on re-signing a reduction of wages of £l 8s. per month; whether on refusing they were informed that all those of military age would be taken by the military authorities; whether they were informed, contrary to the facts, that special constables were posted to prevent them leaving the docks; and what steps it is proposed to take to prevent men suffering reductions in wages under threats of being handed to the military authorities?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara)
The transport "Huntsgreen" is not chartered by the Orient Line, who act only as Government agents, the ship being a prize ship. The current rate for men in the victualling department on transports signed on in London is £5 10s. per month, and this rate was offered to the victualling department of the "Huntsgreen." The ship was originally signed on at Belfast, where the port rate is higher than in London, and it was on this ground that the men based their claim for the extra £l 8s. The alteration in rate was notified 1683 several days prior to engagement, but no objection was raised until the day of signing on. In order that the ship should not be delayed, £6.5s. per month was paid. The company's marine superintendent informed the men that if they refused employment at the current rate of wages, their exemption from military service in respect of this ship would not apply, but did not inform them that special constables were posted to prevent their leaving the docks.