HC Deb 17 March 1920 vol 126 cc2223-5W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions whether the Committee representing the disabled men in the Ministry establishment at Woolwich Arsenal has had any sittings; whether consultation has taken place with the Committee concerning contemplated discharges of such men at the Arsenal; and whether any uniformity of action has been secured?


The answer to all three parts of this question is yes, Sir. As the result of difficulties that recently arose at Woolwich Arsenal, owing to the necessity of considering the discharge of ex-service men, I met representatives of the ex-service men employed at Woolwich and suggested that they should appoint a committee with which the Arsenal officials should confer, I gave an undertaking that no disabled ex-service men should be given notice of discharge without prior consultation with such a committee on the part of the responsible officials at Woolwich. The ex-service men have formed the committee suggested, and the present procedure provides that before any substantial releases are decided upon the officials at the Arsenal will consult with the men's committee with a view to securing that necessary releases are carried out with the minimum of hardship. I am glad to say that the Secretary of State for War and the First Lord of the Admiralty have issued orders for the adoption of this procedure, so far as the staffs of the Arsenal and dockyards for which they are responsible are concerned. In the event of a deadlock being reached in any consultation between the ex-service men's committee and the officials of the Arsenal on the question of discharges, both sides will be free to place the question in dispute before an advisory committee. The members of this committee, who are not associated with either the officials or the men, are:—

  • Sir Thomas Munro,
  • Mr. Button,
  • Sir James Marshall.

The advisory committee will report to the Prime Minister direct.