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Monday, 5 June 1939

Since 1934, when the firm obtained itsfirst contract, the union has maderepeated protests to the various Ministers and to the Defence Department, 'but has not yet received a satisfactory answer. This firm continues to obtain a share of all contracts.

The second question was -

Has the Government investigated thesecharges; if so, what is the nature of the investigating officer's report?

The answer was -

Yes. The investigation officer's report discloses that the statements of the union werenot sustained.

The inspecting officers have no knowledge of the skilled branches of the felt hat industry. The Defence Department hasadmitted in correspondence with theunion that it has not one officercapable of distinguishing between military work and civilian work until over one-half of the manufacturing operation has been completed. Any inspection carried out by the inspecting officers has been one-sided. Thedepartment sends its officer to inspect thework. Having no specialized knowledgeof the industry, he makes inquiries from the men at the factory, who inform him that they are satisfied with their conditions, .and that they are entitled to dothe work they are doing. On this assurance being given, the officer is apparentlysatisfied that all is in order. The department has consistently refused the union's request to be allowed to send a representative to attend during inspections. The union has offered the department the services of a fully qualified' journeyman felt hatter to carry out the inspection free of charge. Thedepartment will not attempt tobring this firm into line with al! other firms, by insisting on the observance of award rates .and conditions. It continues to send along inspecting officers who have no knowledge of what to look for, and who are, therefore, unable to detect any breaches of the award. That,, no doubt, is what the department desires.

A practical roan would hare been able to detect a breach of the award immediately ; the inspecting officers of the department have not been able to detect one breach of the award since 1934. The third question was -

Is this firm observing award rates and conditions?

The answer was -

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