asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that James Douglas, who for 16 years had worked at the Royal Navy torpedo factory at Greenock and who was receiving 6s. per week as merit awards was, on 22nd February at two days' notice, compulsorily transferred with leave of absence to a shipbuilding yard; why an employee of such long service was permitted to go when others with less are retained; and whether he will give an assurance that this compulsory transfer will not affect Douglas's service gratuity amounting to about £45?
The particulars concerning Mr. Douglas's employment and pay are as stated in the first part of my hon. Friend's Question. With regard to the second part, I have nothing to add to the reply given on 25th February by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service. With regard to the third part, Mr. Douglas's claim for a superannuation gratuity will not be prejudiced by his transfer, on the assumption that he returns to Admiralty employment when he is released from the direction to work elsewhere.
Is it not a fact that the Minister has not told the House the reasons for this man's being singled out for transfer? The man has been 16 years in the torpedo factory, and there are other men who have not been there so long, men accustomed to working in the shipyards. The man in question is being transferred to a shipyard, and the Minister has not given any reason why the Admiralty have allowed that transfer to go on. Will the Minister submit to the House a report of the inquiry that is now taking place into the administration of affairs in the torpedo factory?
The reply to the first part of the supplementary question is that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour is already making inquiries concerning the direction which was issued to Mr. Douglas, and my hon. Friend must await the result of that inquiry. The second part of the Question raises another matter entirely.