HC Deb 19 April 1910 vol 16 cc1879-80

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been called to the difference between the wages of sail-makers in His Majesty's dockyards and the wages of other mechanics; whether he can explain why shipwrights receive 35s. 6d. per week, boilermakers, fitters, and blacksmiths 36s. to 42s., and sail-makers only 30s. 6d. for hired men and 29s. for established; whether he is aware that the average rate of wages in the principal sailmaking departments of private firms is 5s. per week in excess of the amount paid in His Majesty's dockyards for precisely the same work; whether he is aware that sailmakers are required to serve an apprenticeship and skilled labourers are not; what is the difference between the wages of the sailmaker and the wages of the skilled labourer; and what are the duties that the sailmaker has to perform?


The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative With regard to the second part, the services of the sailmakers are assessed at a lower value than those of the other trades named. The reply to the third part of the question is in the negative; to the fourth part in the affirmative; and to the fifth part, 2s. 6d. to 8s. 6d. a week. As to the last part of the question, the making of sails, awnings, and various other kinds of canvas articles, are the duties performed by sailmakers. I might add that a petition from the sailmakers in regard to their rate of wages has recently been under consideration, and will shortly be replied to.


May I ask, in respect to the word "shortly," if the right hon. Gentleman will give a more definite statement?


No, Sir; I am unable to give a more definite statement.