HL Deb 14 September 1909 vol 2 cc1139-40


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this is another small Bill promoted by the Home Office, and the purport of which, I think, is sufficiently explained by the two clauses in the Bill and the schedule which follows. The Workmen's Compensation Act makes no distinction at all with regard to the nationality of the workmen who suffer injury from accidents occurring in the course of their employment in this country. Foreigners and Englishmen have an equal right under the Act. In a good many Continental countries the same principle has been adopted, but in France at the present time British and other foreign workmen are under certain disabilities in the matter of compensation as compared with French workmen. The French Government, however, have power under their law by Treaty to remove these disabilities, and soon after the passing of the Workmen's Compensation Act negotiations were opened with the French Government to ascertain whether they would be willing to conclude a Treaty on these lines. The French Government received these proposals favourably, and the outcome of the negotiations which took place is the Bill now before your Lordships. I think your Lordships will see that, though the matter looked at by itself is not a very important one—the total number of workmen who are likely to be concerned is very small —on the other hand the Convention may be looked upon as being of real importance and value as a precedent, leading, perhaps, to other industrial agreements with foreign countries in time to come. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Bill read 2a and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next.