§ Mr. Gallacher
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that labourers and other non-mechanics are being formed into a mechanics branch in the Navy and told that after three years' service they may be placed on the same footing as men who have fully served engineering apprenticeships in civil life; and whether this action has been taken after consultation with the trade unions and with their agreement?
On the assumption that my hon. Friend is speaking of the mechanic branches of the Royal Navy, e.g. engine-room mechanics, these ratings are specially selected men from other branches who have been given a course of technical training, so that they may assist the artificer ratings. They are, in effect, dilutees. They are eligible for advancement after a period of sea service but their rates of pay are not so high as those of the artificers. There is no foundation for the suggestion that they are being given, after three years' service, the same treatment as men who have served engineering apprenticeships.