HC Deb 11 May 1908 vol 188 cc696-7

To ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that the firms of W. T. Henley and Company, the Western Electric Company, of North Woolwich, the India Rubber and Telegraph Company, of Silvertown, and Johnson and Phillips, of Charlton, who contract for and supply goods to the Admiralty, pay from 2s. to 8s. per week less than the standard rate of wage to many of the workmen in their employ; and whether, seeing that this is unfair both to the workmen and to firms that compete with them who do pay the standard rate of wage, he will take steps to induce those firms to pay the standard rate, or otherwise strike them off the list of firms that are allowed to contract for Admiralty work.

(Answered by Mr. McKenna.) The Admiralty is not aware that the firms in question are paying wages below the current rate of the district. All contracts with those firms contain the usual clause as to the payment of the current rate, and no complaint of any breach of that clause has reached the Admiralty. If specific details of any cases of underpayment are furnished in respect of Admiralty contracts full inquiry into the matter shall be made and suitable action taken according to the result of any such inquiry.