§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON (for Mr. Ramsay Macdonald)
asked the Secretary for War whether his attention has been drawn to the agreement which has been come to between the boot and shoe manufacturers and the boot and shoe operatives; whether he has received any complaints that the manufacturers patronised by the War Office are not carrying out the agreement; whether, under such circumstances, he proposes to assume that such agreements, arrived at after discussion between representatives of the employers and the men, establish fair conditions in a trade; and whether he proposes to communicate that decision to the Army contractors?
§ Mr. HALDANE
The hon. Member probably refers to the agreement arrived at in January and ratified in June last between the Federated Association of Boot and Shoe Manufacturers and the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives. This agreement has not been brought specially to the notice of the War Department by 1927 either of the parties to it; nor have any complaints been received of the kind indicated in the question. In regard to the latter part of the question, if any agreement as to wages or hours of labour were commonly recognised by employers and trade societies in the trade in the district where the work is carried out, it would certainly establish the minimum standard to be observed by Army contractors, and as this is clear from the wording of the Resolution of the House of 10th March last, no special communication to contractors would appear to be necessary.