May I immediately point out to the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Corfield) that there is a misunderstanding which I thought we had carefully explained to the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom, which naturally was worried by the same arguments which the hon. Member has adduced. It formed the impression that mariners on foreign going agreements would not be employed persons for the purposes of Clause 2 and in consequence office workers would in many cases outnumber those mariners and could be counted as employed on a shore base. However, the only large class of mariners who will not be employed persons for the purposes of this Bill are persons not domiciled or having a place of residence in the United Kingdom, for example, lascars, seamen engaged in Asia.
Generally speaking, British seafarers will count. In almost all cases, British seafarers employed from an establishment will outnumber the office staff at that establishment and, consequently the refunds will be payable. This information has been conveyed to the Chamber of Shipping, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept it without my going into too much detail about the derivation of that authority.
The second point is that a substantial number of seafarers are employed by ship-owning companies which have very few shore staff, the management of the ships being undertaken by specialist management companies which have substantial office staffs but few or no seafarers. This group of amendments, by aggregating companies owning or operating seagoing ships, would make such office workers qualify for the refund so long as the seafarers employed by the ship-owning companies outnumbered the office workers employed by both the owning and managing companies. By aggregating the employees of different employers, the Amendment conflicts with the principle used throughout the Bill that each employer is considered separately and then each establishment of that employer is so dealt with.
In view of what I have said, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will now not press his Amendment.