HC Deb 15 May 1918 vol 106 cc365-6

asked the Minister of Munitions whether he is aware that six examiners employed at the King's Norton Metal Company, at Abbey Wood, S.E., have signed a statement that 33 1–3 per cent. of the primers specially examined there on a certain day proved to be rejects or defective; and that, when they reported the matter to the foreman, he replied that action was being taken, and if the men were not satisfied they could resign; whether he is aware that this signed statement was forwarded to his Department, who replied on 30th April admitting that the facts alleged as to the packing of rejects were substantially correct, but alleging that the informants had misunderstood the foreman; and that on 30th April the six signatories to this statement were sent for by the officer in charge and threatened with instant dismissal for having given information which was communicated to the Minister; and whether he sanctions this action, having regard to the effect on subordinate employés in the Government munition service in discouraging them from bringing to light the supply of defective ammunition in the interest of our soldiers in the field and the taxpayers?


The facts as stated by my hon. Friend are substantially correct. The men made their statement to their foreman, and immediate action was taken to deal with the whole of the primers which were under suspicion, and the firm's official responsible for the packing was dismissed. It is a fact that the men were told that the matter having been brought to the notice of the authorities, they had acted improperly in making representations to a body outside the Ministry, and had rendered themselves liable to dismissal. Having regard, however, to the fact that the men acted in good faith, and that their representations prevented the packing of the defective primers, I have caused the foreman to be informed that the men should have been thanked for their action.


Are we to understand from the reply of the hon. Gentleman that these men will not be dismissed, or made victims, for having given this information?


On the contrary, I stated that the men should have been thanked.