I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the Fair Wages Resolution is not carried into effect in the Irish branch of the Ordnance Survey at Mountjoy Barracks, Dublin; whether there is an undue proportion employed of boy labour to skilled hands, and what are their terms of employment; and when is it expected that the 25-inch scale of the Irish Survey will be completed?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD Of AGRICULTURE (Mr. H. GARDNER,) Essex, Saffron Walden
The Resolution to which my hon. Friend refers does not apply to the members of the Ordnance Survey staff in Dublin, inasmuch as they are in the service of the Government itself, and enjoy many privileges which must be taken into account in comparing their position with that of persons doing similar work in private employ. I have no reason, however, to believe that such a comparison, even if wages alone are taken into account, would be other than favourable to those engaged on the Survey, and I may refer my hon. Friend to the conclusions arrived at by the Departmental Committee of 1891—a copy of whose Report was laid on the Table. The proportion of boy labour to skilled bauds is not greater than is consistent with the nature of the work to be done. Speaking generally, the boys are paid at the rate of 6s. a week at about 14 years of age and rise to about 15s. a week about the age of 18. The completion of the 25-inch survey of Ireland depends almost entirely upon the amount of money made available for the purpose by Parliament. The question is being fully considered by me, and I hope to submit certain pro- 970 posals to the Treasury in connection with the Estimates for 1894–5 which will secure the acceleration of the work.
Then are we to understand that the Government employs labour in the country which is not subject to the Fair Wages Resolution?
§ MR. H. GARDNER
No, Sir; and I have pointed out that the wages these men receive compare very favourably with the wages paid outside.