HC Deb 15 May 1907 vol 174 c964

I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, if he is aware that, since the Board granted a fifty-seven hour week to the stokers in the palm-house section of Kew Gardens, the men have had additional work given to them, such work having previously been done by men from another department; and, if so, will he state what action, if any, he proposes to take in the matter.


Prior to the recent reduction in the hours of labour; certain labourers were employed in stoking, and were paid as stokers, during the period from November to February, when the work is heaviest, and during the remainder of the year reverted to the pay and status of labourers. Under the new arrangement a staff of six stokers is permanently employed and paid as such throughout the year, but during the winter period it is still necessary to call in the assistance of labourers to overtake the work. Between March and October, however, the stokers are able to undertake the whole of the work, and the assistance of labourers is therefore not required. There is no doubt that the present arrangement is a substantial benefit to the stokers, and the only alternative would be to revert to the old arrangement, whereby some of them were reduced to the status and pay of labourers during the greater part of the year.