HC Deb 16 November 1916 vol 87 cc974-6
69. Mr. DEVLIN

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the employés of the English railway companies having terminal shipping depots at Irish ports are in receipt of the same bonus of 10s. a week which is paid to their railway workers in England and Wales; whether the employés of the Midland Rail way Company working in connection with the Heysham steamers at Belfast are get ting a bonus of 10s. a week, whilst the employés of the Midland Railway Company (Northern Counties section) are paid a bonus of only 2s. to 4s., according to the rates of wages; and whether there is any reason why these Irish railway employés of the Midland Railway Company in Ireland should not be paid the full bonus of 10s. a week?


I understand that the railway companies in Ireland have not seen their way to pay the same war bonus to their employés as is paid to the employés of the English companies.


Is not the war bonus in the case of the English companies paid by the Government? Is it not a fact that out of the 10s. bonus paid to railwaymen in this country the English companies only pay about 7d., whereas the whole of the war bonus so far in Ireland is paid by the companies?


Yes; but the difference between the two is that the Irish companies are run for the benefit of the Irish shareholders, and the Irish shareholders are the persons who ought to pay the remuneration of their employés. Any profit which is made out of the English railways under the present control goes to the State.


Is not the Midland Counties an English railway company?




Are not the Irish employés of this English railway company entitled to the same bonus as is given to their English employés, since this company is subsidised by the State?


The actual shareholders of the Midland Railway Company in Ireland may certainly be English, but that makes no difference to the fact that this company is not a controlled company, and any remuneration paid to their servants must be borne by those who are the shareholders in that company.


I again ask if it is not a fact that the shareholders in this company are the shareholders of the Midland Railway Company of England?


That may be, but, as I have pointed out, it makes no earthly difference.

Colonel CRAIG

Does not the difference arise from the fact that the Irish Midland Counties is called the Northern Counties Committee, and is really a separate Irish railway?


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of the State taking over the railway?