HC Deb 29 June 1920 vol 131 cc229-30
14. Sir J. BUTCHER

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a number of ex-service men were recently engaged to work at the Curragh camp in Ireland, and undertook to work 66 hours a week; whether objection was taken by some local civilian painters as to the number of hours worked by these ex-service painters; whether the matter was referred to the engineer officer in charge; whether the result was that the ex-service men were discharged and lost their job; and whether he can give any information as to the circumstances under which these men were dismissed?


A number of painters, about 23 per cent. of whom were ex-service men, were, in the absence of suitable local labour, engaged from Dublin for service at the Curragh from time to time subsequently to November last. The weekly hours of work, which up to 1st April last were 66, were from that date reduced to 60, as it was found that the longer hours were not conducive to satisfactory work. In order to ensure more efficient supervision a further reduction to 47 hours per week (the normal hours in this locality for other tradesmen) appeared expedient, and was effected on 8th ultimo. In consequence of this the trade society to which the men belonged are understood to have withdrawn the men. No men were dismissed, and there is no good ground for belief that the alteration of working arrangements was in any way the consequence of representations made to the commanding Engineer officer.


Does the hon. Gentleman say that these men left voluntarily, and were not dismissed at all?


I have said so

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

How is it that when there is a Bill before the House for a 48-hour week—


Mr. Waddington. [See Col. 221.]