HC Deb 20 September 1939 vol 351 cc922-3
6. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the terms of employment of fishermen engaged to man drifters acquired for Naval Service as regards wages, compensation for death or injury, victualling allowance, and allotments to dependants?

Mr. Shakespeare

All drifters so far taken up for Naval Service have been requisitioned on the basis that the owners provide and pay the crews. The crews are signed on under ordinary Mercantile Marine Coasting Trade Articles. The rates of pay, victualling arrangements and allotment facilities are those normally provided for under these Articles. The crews of these vessels, as members of the Mercantile Marine, are entitled to compensation for death or injury arising from war risks, in accordance with the provisions of the Pensions (Navy, Army, Air Force and Mercantile Marine) Act, 1939, under a scheme which will shortly be issued.

Mr. Stewart

Is my hon. Friend aware that these instructions are not universally applied? For example, some of the crews are to receive victualling allowances while others are not. Will my hon. Friend look into that?

Mr. Shakespeare

I know the case which my hon. Friend has in mind. I gave him the normal practice, but in an extreme case provisions were placed at the disposal of a particular drifter.

Mr. Beechman

Will the provision for compensation be retrospective?

Mr. Shakespeare

That depends on the operation of the Act.