HC Deb 27 April 1911 vol 24 c1975

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether Messrs Harper Brothers, of Eccleshill, Yorkshire, claim to be allowed to pay a differential rate of wages for willeyers and fettlers; if he is aware that, where rates of wages are arranged between employers and work people, the rates for both are alike; if, therefore, the latter mode of payment is one which in practice prevails among good employers within the meaning of the Fair Wages Clause; and, if it is, whether he will take steps to enforce it; and (2) if the right hon. Gentleman will state in what respect the general industrial circumstances prevailing in Leeds, the nearest district to Messrs. Harper's, where a rate of wages for willeying and fettling is recognised between employers' and workpeople's associations, differ so as to justify him in allowing Messrs. Harper to tender as complying with the Fair Wages Clause although they only pay 5½d. per hour for fettling and 5¼d. for willeying, whilst Leeds firms have to pay 6d. per hour for ordinary time for both jobs?


The hon. Member's questions no doubt refer to Messrs. T. and H. Harper, of Apperley Bridge. Perhaps he will allow me to answer both questions together. After very full enquiry and consideration I am satisfied that the rate of wages paid by this firm to willeyers compares favourably with that which in practice prevails among good employers in the district, and that in that district it is not customary to pay identical rates for willeying and fettling. In these circumstances it does not appear that the firm are infringing the Fair Wages Clause in not adopting the higher rate recognised for Leeds, or in paying willeyers at a lower rate than fettlers.