HC Deb 27 November 1908 vol 197 cc940-1

To ask the First Commissioner of Works if he is aware that, according to the Report of the Labour Department of the Board of Trade, the wages of carpenters and joiners working within a radius of twelve miles of Charing Cross are given as 10½d. per hour; and whether, in view of this fact, he will insist upon all firms who secure Government work within this radius over which he has control paying 10½d. per hour to the carpenters in their employ.

(Answered by Mr. L. Harcourt.) The Report referred to gives information furnished to the Board of Trade by associations connected with, the building trade. It represents an agreement arrived at between the London Master Builders' Association and the London Trade unions. From the best information I can obtain the rate of 10½d. an hour adopted in this agreement for carpenters is not, to use the language of the Fair Wages Resolution of this House, "generally accepted as current in the trade for competent workmen," as between local employers and workmen, in certain places in the outer fringe of the area within the twelve-mile radius; and it appears that the London associations have not been able to enforce a rate of 10½d. for carpenters in those districts, although in some instances that rate is paid. Having regard to the terms of the Resolution of the House I do not see how I can compel contractors in those districts to pay the 10½d. rate where I find that there is another and lower rate locally current.