HC Deb 30 November 1933 vol 283 cc1023-4

I beg to present a humble Petition prepared under the auspices of the Officers (Merchant Navy) Federation in which the petitioners pray:

That the well-being of the Merchant Navy being a matter of national concern, a public inquiry be set up to report upon the conditions of service of certificated and engineer officers of the British Merchant Navy, with special regard to training, contract of employment, leave, remuneration, unemployment and health insurance, representation, regulation, employment of uncertificated foreign officers in British ships, benevolent work and pensions, and the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1920, in so far as such Acts affect certificated officers.

This Petition has been signed by over 12,000 masters, and navigating and engineer officers in the British Merchant Navy, and also by over 10,000 members of the public.

The material allegations in the Petition are that there have been, and still are, considerable grounds for complaint on the part of officers in the Merchant Navy with regard to the conditions of their service, some of which conditions are neither just nor humane, and cause grave discontent.

The Petition sets forth 13 of the chief grounds for complaint, among which are the fact that the British officers are paid at rates considerably below those in force in ships of other European countries, that foreign officers may be employed in British ships, and that the effect of the discontent existing among the officers upon the morale of the Merchant Service is detrimental to true national interests, and that it is a matter of national importance that the causes of such discontent be investigated.

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