HC Deb 30 July 1924 vol 176 cc2036-7

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty with reference to the Treasury Regulation, dated 11th August, 1914, on the subject of the civil pay of civil servants called up for service with the naval and military forces, and its bearing upon the claim of three employés at the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Bull Point, who enlisted on 28th November, 1914 (only 12 days before reaching 20 years of age), under conditions specified in this Regulation, which states that they would be eligible for increment on a civil salary, whether he will see that these employés are paid such sums as they would have received throughout their service had they waited for 12 days before joining up, and that their appointments as labourers are ante-dated to their twentieth birthdays, seeing that, had it not been for this Regulation, which gave them to understand that they would receive the normal increments of salary during their service, they could have deferred their enlistment and have been paid throughout their service as adults?

The CIVIL. LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Hodges)

It is not possible to apply to these employés, while they were serving in the Forces, rates of wages other than those appertaining to the grade in which they were serving at the time of their enlistment. The service of boys, other than apprentices, is reckonable for superannuation purposes from the age of 16; apart, therefore, from the question of pay, there is no purpose in ante-dating the appointments as labourers to the twentieth birthdays, time served with the colours being reckonable for the purposes of civil superannuation in cases where men were employed by the Admiralty in a civilian capacity prior to the War and returned to their work in the yards immediately on demobilisation.


Does not my hon. Friend consider that a scandalous breach of contract has been committed towards these boys, who were asked to join up and told they would lose no increment in their salary by so doing, and who, upon that understanding, joined up 12 days before they were qualified as adult labourers?


That is just the difficulty. It is not a breach of contract; the conditions are embodied in the regulation.