HC Deb 16 March 1917 vol 91 cc1435-6

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he can explain the reason for a further police raid inspired by the military authorities on a trade union meeting in Glasgow organised by the Shop Assistants' Union; whether a meeting of hairdressers to discuss the question of wages was entered by an Army sergeant and half a dozen police officers, who demanded the immediate production of military exemptions; whether two men, who were not carrying their papers with them, were accompanied by the police to their homes and were found to have served with the Army in Gallipoli and been discharged; whether one man, arrested as an absentee and taken to prison, had to be discharged because it was found he had already reported for Army service and been told to go back to his work until he was called up; whether the two raids on trade union meetings, though causing much ill feeling, have yielded even one absentee; whether he is aware that it is generally believed among the shop workers in Glasgow that these repeated raids are instigated by the employers, and are therefore embittering industrial relations; and whether he will cause an investigation to be made into all the circumstances, and meantime take steps to put a stop to proceedings which create resentment without any service to the Army?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Macpherson)

My right hon. Friend the Member for St. Rollox has also addressed me on this matter. I explained to my hon. Friend on 28th February that be was under a misapprehension as to the objects of the so-called" raids." An examination of registration cards and exemption certificates was made at a meeting of the hairdressers in Glasgow on 6th March. A police inspector explained the purpose of the examination to the chairman, and my hon. Friend will be glad to hear that a most amicable spirit prevailed, and the members were thanked for their courtesy. There were about eighty-persons present, and all the cards were found to be in order. There is no foundation for the suggestion that these raids are instigated by employers, or are in any way directed against trade unions. In this particular case I am informed that the officer responsible was not aware that this was a trade union meeting.


Can my hon. Friend say whether this is a round-up or a comb-out of the whole of the hairdressers?


Arising out of the reply, can the hon. Gentleman say what has come of the National Register, and why the military authorities do not use the National Register which is kept?


That is a separate question.