Court Hearing – Chichester Observer – Wednesday, 29 March 1916

A Cinema Operator. Both employer and employee applied for the exemption of a Selsey electrical engineer, operator and mechanic. The employer, a picture theatre proprietor, claimed the man’s absolute exemption on the ground of serious hardship. If this man were taken for military duty it would impossible for him continue to run his establishment, as owing to the highly technical nature of the employment it was not possible to introduce to the work a person with slight or incomplete knowledge. The man’s personal application stated that he had four brothers in France, one had been lost, and another wounded. He would make the sixth son if had to go. He had to support his parents. The employer, replying to the Chairman, said it might that the machine might run for eight or nine days without any trouble whatever, and on the ninth day something might hang up, which the ordinary man in the street could not put right. The Chairman: There are surely other skilled men in Selsey who could do this? The employer: I think I may say, with all respect to Selsey, that there are not. It is the only electrical plant in Selsey, and beyond two people, who would not take the job on, there is no one. The Chairman: No one the plumbing business ? The employer: I went to one man but he was very much afraid of electricity, and would have it not. Replying to the Rev. R. B. P. Wells the employer said he could do the man’s work himself but he had defective eyesight, and could not run the projector. There was a very powerful light in the operating box, and this prevented him seeing properly. The Chairman: Are you of military age yourself? The employer : Yes, I am an attested man, and I expect I shall have the pleasure interviewing you gentlemen on my own behalf shortly. (Laughter). The operator himself was also questioned, and after they had retired, a member the Tribunal remarked that it would be better for labour if these picture palaces were shut for six months. The application was refused, and upon being informed that appeal could be made within three days the employer signified his intention taking that course.

Last updated: Oct 12, 2023

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