Dock Dispute, London.

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 25th July 1923.

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Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

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asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that men in the area of the London dock dispute are being refused unemployment benefit, although they have been unemployed and in receipt of benefit prior to the occur- rence of the dispute; and whether he will issue instructions to the officials of the Labour Exchanges to prevent these men being deprived of the benefit for which they have paid and to which they are entitled?

Photo of Mr Anderson Barlow Mr Anderson Barlow , Salford South

Dock workers in London within the area of the general dispute have been held by the Chief Insurance Officer to be disqualified for benefit under Section 8 (1) of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920. The Court of Referees on appeal upheld the Insurance Officer's decision, but gave the applicants leave to appeal to the Umpire. Further appeal may, therefore, be made to the Umpire by the applicants themselves or by any association of which they are members. I have no authority to order payment of benefit contrary to the decisions arrived at by the machinery of the Insurance Officer, Court of Referees and the Umpire.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are a very large number of men at the docks who have been unemployed during a great period, and will now be deprived of the benefit for which they paid? Cannot something be done to deal with their cases?

Photo of Mr Anderson Barlow Mr Anderson Barlow , Salford South

To use the word" deprive "rather begs the question. Here is the machinery for deciding these cases, and that machinery is open to the men. They can appeal to the umpires. I cannot alter the decision of the umpires.

Photo of Mr John Muir Mr John Muir , Glasgow Maryhill

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the decision is correct?