HC Deb 16 December 1908 vol 198 cc1842-3
SIR FRANCIS CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

To ask the Secretary of State for War what is the present procedure of the War Office to secure a reasonable standard of wages, hours and conditions of employment in respect of unorganised labour indirectly employed by sub-contracting of any portion of work to carry out Army contracts; whether he has considered the principle adopted in a standing order made by the Sheffield City Council on 10th April, 1907, that, in municipal contracts in respect of organised trades, the standard wages, hours, and conditions as generally recognised by the trade unions and the employers should be enforced, but that in respect of unorganised workers, where there are no such recognised standards, the council itself will prescribe reasonable standards of wages, hours, and conditions of employment in respect of any such sub contracted work under the municipal contracts; and whether the War Office, in offering any contracts in the carrying out of which unorganised labour is employed by subcontracting or otherwise, will adopt this principle and prescribe the rates of wages, hours of labour, and conditions of employment.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) These points are discussed in the Report of the Fair Wages Committee which will shortly be in the hands of hon. Members, and will receive full consideration by His Majesty's Government. It would therefore, I think, serve no useful purpose to supply the hon. Baronet with the mass of detail that would be necessary in order to answer fully this question as to present practice.