HL Deb 10 March 1915 vol 18 c653

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this little Bill has come up from another place unscathed, and in its passage was never challenged. I ask your Lordships to give it a Second Reading, and if it is your good pleasure to do so I will also ask you to pass it through its further stages to-day. Briefly, the objects of the Bill are these. The Post Office is employing on the sea a great number of men directly and indirectly—that is, themselves and by contract and sub-contract—who, though neither soldiers nor sailors, are doing work which exposes them to some of the worst risks of the war. I need not mention what those risks are, as they will come readily to your Lordships' minds. Some of the men are employed in connection with the installing, repairing, and operating of submarine cables and telegraphic apparatus, including wireless. Others are employed at sea in sorting letters and parcels. This Bill is to secure to them adequate compensation in the ease of disablement and to make provision for their widows or children or other dependants in case of death from injuries. Employees on the cable ships are eligible for compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, but the men employed on sorting work on the Holy head and Kingstown packets, as well as those postmen who travel as couriers between England and France, do not come under that Act. Moreover, it is considered desirable to provide for all these persons compensation on a more liberal scale than that of the Workmen's Compensation Act, and the provisions of this Bill will give them the same terms as are given to civilians employed afloat under the Admiralty. I need only add that "disablement" in this Bill means disablement by personal injury by or sickness directly traceable to the operations of the war.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Saye and Sele.)

On Question, Bill lead 2a.

Committee negatived: Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill read 3a, and passed.