MR. TANKERVILLE CHAMBER-LAYNE (Southampton)
To ask the President of the Board of Agriculture if he can say why the labourers in the Ordnance Survey Office are not paid the same wages as those in a similar position who are employed by the Board of Works and the Board of Education; whether he is aware that recently men have been taken on as unskilled labourers, and after a few weeks service have been promoted to a better class with higher pay over the heads of men who have been working in the Ordnance Survey from ten to twenty years; and whether he will arrange that the minimum rate of wages now granted to these labourers, viz., 18s., be increased to 21s., the minimum in all other Government Departments.
(Answered by Mr. Hanbury.) I know of no labourers under the Board of Works or the Board of Education at Southampton whose position compares with those on the Ordnance Survey, but inquiries are being made on the subject. The particular cases to which my hon. friend directs attention cannot be identified with certainty, but men of superior attainments sometimes join as labourers in the hope of promotion, and it is probable that this is the explanation of the circumstances referred to in the Question. Promotion from one grade to the other is given, not for length of service, but for ability to discharge superior duties, and the most competent men are selected. The pay of the labourers at Southampton has considerably increased of late, and it is doubtful whether any further increase could be justified, but I shall be happy to further investigate the matter in detail.