§ MR. DE COBAIN (Belfast, E.)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the Inspector of Factories for the district of Belfast was warranted in advising the employers of labour in that town and neighbourhood that they would be infringing the provisions of "The Truck Act, 1887," by deducting from the wages of those in their employment certain contributions 424 voluntarily given towards the maintenance of the Belfast Royal Hospital, amounting in the aggregate to £1,700 per annum, and which Institution was almost exclusively for the benefit of the working classes of that town and the surrounding district; if the written assent of each contributor in aid of such a Charitable Institution as this is essential when the gift is voluntary, is subscribed in small sums, and the entire sum represents many thousand contributors; and, if such written assent is deemed necessary, would the giving of it on one occasion be considered a sufficient recognition of the requirements of the said Act?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
This is a question as to the legal interpretation of the Truck Act, as to which I must decline to express an opinion. I do not understand that the Inspector advised the employers that they would be infringing the Act. He merely referred them to the sections of the Act which deal with deductions.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether any provision of the Truck Act renders it illegal for employers to collect the voluntary contributions of their employés in aid of a public hospital without the written consent of such employés?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER) (Isle of Wight)
In reply to the hon. Member, there is not, in my opinion, any provision of the Truck Act which renders it illegal for employers to collect the voluntary contributions of their employés in aid of a public hospital. Of course, I assume that such contribution is not made any part of the conditions of employment.
§ MR. SEXTON
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the answer just given by the Attorney General, if he would direct the Factory Inspector in Belfast to instruct the employers that they might collect voluntary contributions in aid of the hospitals as heretofore?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
said, he would like to know more about the Question before he answered it. However, he would bear the matter in mind.