§ MR. O'GRADY (Leeds, E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether it was on the grounds of economy alone that females were introduced to do the work hitherto done by men in the upholstery and polishing departments of the Devonport dockyard; how many men in each trade were discharged as a result of women being employed; what are the average weekly wages of the women, 1296 dating from March, 1905, to March, 1906; and what proportion of the women are married.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. EDMUND ROBERTSON, Dundee
): The introduction of female labour at Devonport was largely experimental, and was based on the fact that the class of work on which these women are employed has for some years been performed by women in large private shipbuilding establishments. Economy without sacrificing efficiency was aimed at. No men were discharged from the dockyard as a consequence of the change, but seven men who had been previously employed on upholstering sewing work were found other employment. The average weekly wage of the women during the whole time referred to was 15s. 9d., but this is exclusive of payment of 6s. per week given to the working charge woman since January 22nd last only. Out of thirteen women employed, five are married and eight single or widows.