Mr. TYSON WILSON
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the crane attendants in Chatham dockyard, who were recently raised from 21s. a week to the skilled labourers' rate of 22s., are reduced to the old rate when for any reason the crane is not working; whether the regulations provide that once a man is made a skilled labourer he shall retain the rate; and whether he will take steps to secure that when these crane attendants are not doing their customary work they will be given work which will justify their continuing to receive the skilled labourers' rate of pay?
§ Mr. McKENNA
The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The regulations referred to, however, clearly lay it down that men are only to be paid as skilled labourers when employed on skilled work. The men in question are ordinary labourers, but receive the benefit of pay at the higher rate whenever skilled work as crane attendants can be given them. As the amount of skilled work is limited, the continuous employ- 433 ment of these men as skilled labourers could only be arranged at the expense of other men so employed.