Bias in Council Contracts Alleged A LLEGATIONS of preferential treatment, spread
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o'ver a number of years, on the part of Cornwall County Council, were made at the annual meetting of the Devon and Cornwall Area of the Road Haulage Association, at Plymouth, with Mr. K. G. Foster (Landrake) in the chair.
Lieut.-Com. A. Fallon (Penzance) stated that from 1922, until about four years ago, the Contracts issued by Cornwall County Council called for two men on a 5-ton lorry. Certain operators, he alleged, did not carry out the terms of the contract, but employed only one man on their lorries.
About four years ago, however, two other firms thought they could follow the same procedure. They carried out their contracts on the one-man onelorry basis, but it is stated that the council made the firms refund 6s. a day for the time, some 88 days, during which they had been working a vehicle with one man.
Since then, a clause had been inserted in the contract intimating that if only one man were employed on a lorry, a forfeit of 6s. a day had to be paid. This, apparently, put everyone on the same footing, but Lieut.-Com. Fallon alleged that the operators who had carried out the contracts under preferential terms for so many years were now in a firm position in respect of work put out for tender by the council.
It was decided that Mr. Humphrey Cooke, the area secretary, should call the attention of the clerk to the council to the alleged irregularities and ask for a deputation to be received.
The matter followed an item in the eonfprehensive annual report given by e38 Mr. Cooke, who stated that the question of county council contracts was much bound up with that of rates. "Very strong efforts have been made," he continued, "to bring to the realization of the Cornwall County Council, and, to a lesser degree of Devon County Council, the necessity of seeing that contractors comply with the wages agreements and are not placed by their contracts in a position where they must break the law in order to secure for themselves a reasonable profit."
A resolution that the National Council be asked to finance a special objection to licence applications by the Great Western Railway Co. was passed. The Association had appealed against the application by the company to increase its fleet, and the Appeal Tribunal had allowed the appeal in respect of 23 vehicles and 16 trailers. The railway company was now making applications for variations, so as to place the whole of the disallowed vehicles on the road.
Mr. C. Hodgson (St. Austell) was reelected area chairman. Mr. W. Beer (Exeter) was nominated as delegate to the National Council.
"We would like to acknowledge the very great services which the Trade Press have rendered to the R.H.A. in the Devon and Cornwall Area, and in particular we should like to thank the correspondent of The Commercial Motor for his sustained interest in the proceedings of the Association," said Mr. Cooke, in his report.
A striking increase in membership -in the area was revealed by Mr. Cooke. Three years ago, he said, the Heavy Transport Co., St. Austell, was the only member in Devon and Corn