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Devonport Dockyard (Discharges)

Volume 206: debated on Wednesday 11 May 1927

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether dock-yard officials received a request on behalf of the established men recently discharged from His Majesty's Dockyard, Devonport, to the effect that the notices should be cancelled for a month in order that a case might be drafted on behalf of the discharged men; whether this request was rejected; and, if so, the reason for its rejection?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative; the other parts therefore do not arise.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, with reference to the established men discharged from His Majesty's Dockyard, Devonport, whether he will say why it is that these men were informed on one notice that their services were not entirely satisfactory, that on another notice it was stated that they were discharged on reduction, and in a third place that their character was excellent in every respect; and whether, as the statement that their services are not entirely satisfactory is calculated to place them in an impossible position when they are seeking re-employment elsewhere, he can withdraw this comment?

The statements referred to in the first and second parts of the question are statements of fact. I have no knowledge of the third communication referred to. The reply to the last part of the question is in the negative.

May I ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman if it is the practice of the Government to dispense with the services of those established servants who have been given an assurance that they will have work as long as they can do it?

They are employed subject to their approved efficiency. It is not the policy of the Government to do away with the services of established men, but in certain cases it is inevitable.

The men who have been discharged are less efficient than those who are kept on.

If the men discharged are less efficient than those who remain, does that justify the Department in declaring that these men are inefficient and discharging them?

Then what is the reason why these established servants have been discharged?


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can give an undertaking that the discharge of six established men at His Majesty's Dockyard, Devonport, was an exception, and that it is the intention of the Admiralty not to discharge any more established men?

No such assurance can be given, but it is not intended to discharge on reduction established men whose services are satisfactory when numbers can be reduced to the extent required by discharging hired men.

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that it has always been clearly understood that an established man has security of employment and certain pension rights subject to his efficiency; and can the hon. and gallant Gentleman positively say that in the case of the efficient men their contracts will not be broken and that they will be kept on?

I think my answer is calculated to allay anxiety on that point.

Is it not true that it is rather difficult for the Government not to discharge men, seeing that both the Socialists and the Members of the Labour party are always asking for a reduced Navy?