HC Deb 13 June 1939 vol 348 cc1093-4
36. Mr. Benjamin Smith

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the excessive hours worked by officers and men in the coastal trade, which give the coastal owners an unfair advantage over their principal competitors, the railways and road hauliers; and whether any progress is being made in the direction of reducing the hours worked on coasting vessels?

Mr. Stanley

As I informed the hon. Member on 14th February last, the general conditions of service in the coasting trade are primarily matters for the National Maritime Board. I may add that I understand that the sailors' and firemen's panels of that board have recently set up a special sub-committee to consider the conditions of employment of men in the home and coasting trades.

Mr. Smith

While what the right hon. Gentleman has said is true, is it not a fact that officers and men are working from 80 to 100 hours a week in coastal steamers, and are competing with internal transport people who are on an 8-hour day? I think the right hon. Gentleman ought to ask the Maritime Board to expedite this matter.

Colonel Clarke

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that coasting vessels are seldom at sea for more than three days at a time and that as a result the crews, particularly those in colliers, get home much more frequently than those in deep-sea vessels?

Mr. Smith

It is 24 hours a day for three days.