§ 7. Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the difficulty experienced by the people of London in obtaining delivery of coals; and that the delay is not so much due to the shortage of labour as to the refusal on the part of porters and carters to work unless it pleases them to do so; and whether, seeing that in many instances these men have been exempted from military service because they are engaged in a certified trade, he will take such steps as may be necessary to compel these men to do their duty, and, in the event of refusal on insufficient grounds, to withdraw their badges and call them up for military service?
Complaints have been made to the Board of Trade regarding irregular working on the part of carmen and loaders. At the request of the Department, the London Coal Porters' Union have set up a number of local committees to deal with absenteeism, and they are aware that the regulations as to certified occupations expressly provide for the refusal or discontinuance of exemption in the case of men who have a bad record for absenting themselves from work.
I think my lion. Friend will find, if he reads the reply, that it is clearly set forth what the proposal is.
§ Mr. ASHLEY
Arising out of that answer, are we to understand that, if it 244 is proved that these men do not do work for which they are exempted from military service, they will be called back to the Colours?
It is clear that if these men receive exemption on condition that they do certain work and they fail to do that work they will be taken for the Army.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
How long does the hon. Gentleman propose to lake to find out whether they are doing the work or not?
§ Mr. W. THORNE
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that some coal merchants, not very far from this House, in the Lambeth district, are charging 2s. and 2s. 2d. per cwt. for coal, which is far in excess of the understanding arrived at between coal merchants and the Board of Trade?