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Munitions tribunal hearing regarding women's claimant of unfair dismissal

Transcript from Sunderland Echo

Sunderland Echo: Tuesday 22 August 1916

A sitting of the local munitions tribunal was held at the county court yesterday.

Mr J.M.Bailey, of Newcastle presided and the empolyers’ assessor was Mr Peter F Phorson of Messrs Jos. L.Thompson and Sons Ltd Sunderland, the workmens’ assessor was Mr E Gibbon of Newcastle and Mrs L.E. Simm, of Gosforth, was present as the lady assessor.

Rachel Ganley and Nora Deary claimed, under Section3 sub-section 2 of the Act compensation for wrongful dismissal from a shipbuilding firm in Pallion. Complainants said on August 9th that they were told by the forewoman that they had to cease their work- labouring in the yard. They asked the reason for their dismissal and were told there was no work for them. The foreman also made vague allusions to them having been “carrying on” with men when working overtime, but on being asked to particularise he explained that that was what he had heard. On the following Monday they asked the forewoman for their cards but these she refused to surrender to them.

The firm’s representative: they were not asked for.The Clerk (Mr.F.Lambert of Newcastle) : Having dismissed the women it was your duty to grant them their leaving certificates.
Proceeding, the women stated that they were the wives of soldiers and there was absolutely not truth in the allegation that they had been “carrying on” with men in the yard. Their average weekly earnings, with overtime, were 23s 4d.

The firm’s representative explained that he had no witnesses to call concerning the women’s alleged flighty conduct with the men, and on being asked whether he would like the case adjourned in order to enable him to secure the necessary witnesses, he replied that he would rather that the case would proceed. No defence, therefore, was offered.

The Chairman said that the serious charge which had been made against these women had in no way been supported and the court therefore, had no grounds for supposing that such a thing as the alleged misconduct did exist. The court ordered that the women be paid compensation for the two weeks and two days during which they had been out of work at £1 a week each and that the firm issue leaving certificates,

Claims against the same firm were made by two women, Elizabeth Neary and Elizabeth Hyans who were also dismissed on August 9th and two others, Margaret Doran and Ada L.Hunt who were dismissed on July 31st. In the first two cases compensation of £1 each per week for two weeks and two days was awarded and in the last two cases the court ordered the firm to pay £1 each for three weeks.

Sunderland Echo

Wednesday 23 August 1916

With respect to our report yesterday to the claim made at the local Munitions Tribunal on Monday by two women for compensation for wrongful dismissal, we are informed by the forewoman that she was not responsible for the women’s dismissal and she did not refuse to surrender to the women the insurance cards or leaving certificates. They were not asked for as the women left this matter over in the hope that a settlement would be come to. The two women wish to exonerate the forewoman from any blame in the matter, as she was opposed to their dismissal.

Where to find this: British Newspaper Archive

Contributed by Mel Brown, Durham

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