MR. F. A. O'KEEFFE (Limerick)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he will make inquiries on the complaints of the lock keepers and others employed on the canal between Limerick and Killaloe, under the control of the Board of Works in Ireland, as to their insufficient rate of weekly wages; whether that rate, for night and day service, exceeds 7s. weekly; and if that, on their petition to the Commissioners in Dublin, an increase was recommended, and which was subsequently refused sanction by the London authorities; and whether the Board of Works in Ireland would on inquiry cause a representation to be made, with a view of equalising the rate 334 of wages to the Limerick Canal service to the same standard as paid to the employés of the Grand Canal Company, Ireland?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Sir JOHN HIBBERT, Oldham)
Eight out of the nine lock keepers are paid 7s. a week wages, and the remaining one 9s. They are provided with lockhouses to live in, and receive extra pay when employed on repairs near their locks. They are also pensionable out of the Navigation Funds on retirement. Moreover, they are permitted to take farm work in the immediate neighbourhood. In 1893 the men petitioned the Board of Works for an increase of wages. The case was brought before the Treasury, who decided to postpone their decision until certain questions affecting the Canal Revenues had been settled. The men's position is, I believe, not strictly similar to that of the. Grand Canal Company's employés for various reasons, but I agree with the hon. Member that they have a reasonable claim to some improvement in their wages, and I am now in communication with the Board of Works as to how that improvement can best be effected.