HC Deb 20 May 1924 vol 173 cc1978-80

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can now state the result of his investigations into the excessive hours of labour worked by engineers upon the Clyde passenger steamers; if he is aware that prospectuses, issued by the London and North Eastern Railway Company, shows a steamer engaged from 7.25 a.m. to 6.50 p.m. for six days a week; that, in addition, there is work to be performed on Sundays; and that, during the summer months, the engineers and all the other officers are engaged for about 90 hours a week; and what steps he proposes to take that steamers carrying His Majesty's mails shall operate under reasonable working conditions?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given him on 7th May, a copy of which I am sending him.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I asked no question on this subject on the 7th May, and that this is the first question which I put on the matter?


I think that either the record is wrong or the hon. Member's memory is not accurate. I have a question here on the matter, and I shall be glad to go into the matter and give any explanation.


Will the right hon. Gentleman give the answer to the question?


Will the right hon. Gentleman read out the answer to which he refers as a question on this subject has never been put by me in this House?


Perhaps I may be allowed to give a further reply. I have no power to call for any return showing the working hours of engineers on any class of steamers, but I shall be very glad to consider any cases or any evidence submitted to me.


As the right hon. Gentleman has been provided in this question

ENGAGEMENT of British and Foreign Sailors and Firemen (Deck and Engine Departments excluding Officers) at Mercantile Marine Offices in the United Kingdom during the six months ended 31st December, 1921, and the years 1922 and 1923.
Note.—The following figures relate to engagements and not to individual seamen, i.e., if a particular seaman were engaged twice during any period he would be counted twice in the totals below.
Year. Total Number of Seamen Engaged. Sailors and Firemen. (Deck and Engine Departments, excluding Officers.)
British other than Asiatics and Africans. Foreigners other than Asiatics and Africans. *Asiatics and Africans (British and Foreign).
1921† 235,977† 99,734† 5,414† 5,857†
1922 503,019 203,444 9,509 12,419
1923 517,445 204,282 9,411 12,847
* The percentage of British among the Asiatics and Africans cannot be stated with certainty, but is probably considerable.
† Statistics enumerating separately the men employed in the different departments on board ship are not available before 1st July, 1921. These figures relate accordingly to the last six months of 1921 only.

with the information, what action is he going to take in view of the employment of engineers on Glasgow steamers for 90 hours in a week?


I have already taken steps to cause inquiries to be made into the whole question of hours, not in reference to any particular case, but, generally speaking in reference to that class of case.