§ 25. Mr. T. WILLIAMS
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that a workman named Wilfred Marshall, of Stainton, near Rotherham, made a complaint to the Ministry that his employer at Rock House Farm was not paying the wages due under the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act, 1924; that the Ministry inspector made inquiries at the farm and proved underpayment; that the workman was afterwards given one week's notice and later on received a solicitor's letter demanding possession of the house under threat of turning the man and his family on to the street; and will he take action to prevent employers who break the law from victimising workmen who have not broken the law?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
My attention has already been drawn to the case in question. Without expressing any opinion on the facts of this particular case, I have no hesitation in saying that I would very 1649 strongly deprecate the action of an employer in dismissing a worker as a result of an investigation by an inspector which disclosed contravention of the agricultural minimum wage orders. As the hon. Member is aware, however, I have no power to prevent an employer terminating a worker's contract of service. I would add that from the information at my disposal, I have every reason to believe that cases of victimisation are rare.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
In view of the bountiful blessings conferred upon agriculture and farmers generally, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that he has a duty to agricultural labourers, who are merely complying with the law, to prevent them from being victimised by farmers who are known to have broken the law?
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House how he intends to carry it out? Does he intend to provide a few thousand pounds for more wage inspectors and at the same time provide a few more millions for farmers in one way or another?