§ Mr. CHARLES DUNCAN
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to the discharge of six electrical workers from Portsmouth Dockyard; whether he is aware that the only offence brought against the men was their refusal to work overtime until 10 p.m., because sufficient notice had not been given; that the men had been working from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., and it was not until they were leaving work that they were informed that they had to remain until 10 p.m.; whether he is also aware that one man (Henderson) has not been paid a bonus to which he is entitled, the reason given being that Henderson's offence was aggravated by other offences, which have not been indicated, and of which Henderson has no knowledge; and whether he will have further inquiry made into this case and reconsider whether the discharge of these men at a time like the present is justified by the offence committed?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
My hon. Friend may rest assured that it is our desire that1486W as long notice as possible should be given to the men concerned when overtime is required, but he will realise that the exigencies of the Service make it inevitable that the notice should sometimes be short. In the present case the 200 men concerned, who were already on overtime, were warned from 7 p.m. onwards that an extension of overtime from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. would be required of them, the amount of notice given being all that was possible in the circumstances. No doubt some time elapsed before all the men concerned received notice. The six men referred to by my hon. Friend were the only ones who failed to respond. Their cases have been very carefully considered, and I see no grounds for revising the decision arrived at.
§ Mr. DUNCAN
asked whether the crane drivers employed at Portsmouth Dockyard have been paid any increase in wages at the same time as the increase was granted to the mechanics and labourers?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The men employed as crane drivers in Portsmouth Dockyard are classed as skilled labourers, and the whole of these men participated in the war bonus granted as from the 28th March last. The amount of the war bonus for the men employed as crane driver's was the same as that granted to the mechanics, namely, 3s. a week. If my hon. Friend refers to the advance of 1s. a week, granted to skilled labourers as from 1st October, 1914, in connection with the petitions, I would point out that the advance in question was only granted on the probationary and minimum rates.