HC Deb 22 June 1927 vol 207 cc1831-2
25. Sir B. PETO

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the masters and navigating and engineer officers of British merchant ships have no representation whatever on the Joint Maritime Commission of the International Labour Organisation, which confines itself to discussing and dealing with many questions of importance and concern to ships and seafarers; and whether he will consider the desirability of ensuring that the organisations which represent officers of British ships should be represented on this Commission?


It is the fact that masters and officers of the British Mercantile Marine are not directly represented on this Commission. The representatives on the Commission of shipowners and seamen are elected by the employers' and workers' delegates respectively who are present at maritime sessions of the International Labour Conference, and it is not, therefore, in my power to ensure the representation of any particular interest.


Is it not a fact, therefore, that the officers of the British merchant service are not represented at all—not only not directly represented, but not represented at all; and, in view of the fact that under the two-watch system, they serve far more arduous hours than even seamen, is it not right that their views should be put?


Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question, is he not aware that there has not been a single dispute between the shipowners and the Sailors' and Firemen's Union for the last quarter of a century?


There is something wrong with that statement.


I am very glad to hear that information, of which I was aware. As regards the supplementary question asked me by the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), I am afraid the matter is outside my competence. The question of the appointment was settled at the Genoa Conference, I think in 1920. If I remember aright, there is nomination by the employers and nomination by the workers, and whom they nominate is within their own competence to decide.