HC Deb 17 April 1890 vol 343 cc686-7

I bog to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if it is the case that males of from 18 to 20 years old are employed as boys in Her Majesty's Dockyards; what are their wages; and are these boys put to do skilled work, such as drilling, driving steam cranes, machines, &c.?


Boys are employed in the Dockyards up to the ages of from 18 to 20 years in connection with most of the principal trades. Their pay at 20 years of age would be 2s. 6d. per day. These boys are entered for the purpose of learning trades, and are employed on skilled work with that object. Great pressure is put upon the authorities at each Dockyard to enter boys and teach them trades, and it is a frequent source of complaint that more are not entered, as the sons of workmen have very few other opportunities of learning trades in the Dockyard towns.


I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have received any Petitions from the labourers employed in the Dockyards for an increase of pay, these having been presented to the local officials in February, who promised that they should be forwarded; if it is a fact that ordinary labourers are paid 15s. per week, and whether the Admiralty have any intention of raising this minimum to the £1 per week asked for by the labourers; and whether the Admiralty propose to redress the grievances complained of, namely, in the matters of checked pay, low wages, and with a view to boys being employed on boys' work and not on skilled labour?


The Petitions have been considered, and regulations issued, for a more rapid advance to higher rates of pay. These labourers have opportunities of becoming skilled labourers and earning 20s. per week and over—if they show themselves fit for better work. It should be borne in mind that far more men are anxious to be entered at 15s. per week than we could find employment for.