§ MR. FORWOOD (Lancashire, Ormskirk)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what would have been the approximate additional charge on the Navy Estimates of last year had the workmen in Her Majesty's Naval Establishments been paid, instead of on a graduated or classified principle, at a uniform rate of wages based on the highest rate paid in each trade, not being a special rate; if he will state what would have been the amount of such increase, separately for each of the following trades and occupations: boiler makers, ship and engine fitters, joiners, skilled labourers, ordinary labourers, shipwrights, smiths and hammermen, other trades and occupations; and how many men have been advanced from the lower to the higher rate of pay under the terms of the Admiralty Circular of 27th June, 1892, in addition to vacancies created in the ordinary way, by deaths, superannuations, and discharges?
SIR U. KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH
The information desired in the last paragraph can only be obtained by reference 770 to the yards. If this part of the question is repeated in a few days' time, I shall be happy to answer it. The first two paragraphs consist of a purely hypothetical question—namely, what would have been the burden thrown on the late Board of Admiralty's Estimates by changes which were not made, and, so far as I know, never were even contemplated. The right hon. Gentleman can scarcely expect the present Board to institute hypothetical calculations of this character as to what the cost might have been if the late Board had adopted a policy totally different from what they actually carried out.
§ MR. KEARLEY (Devonport)
should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is not a fact that this classification has caused general dissatisfaction since its introduction two years, ago by the late Government, and if among the shipwrights alone no less than 3,600 out of 4,000 men have signed a Petition protesting against its continuance?
SIR D. KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH
I believe a large amount of evidence in the direction indicated by the hon. Member for Devonport has been received by my hon. Friend the Civil Lord of the Admiralty.
§ MR. FORWOOD
Will the right hon. Gentleman, in announcing his decision as to classification, state the effect on the Estimates?
* MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
Can the right hon. Gentleman state if the workmen who are dissatisfied with the system are those at the top of the list, or those at the bottom?
§ [The question was not answered.]