§ 32. Mr. O'GRADY
asked whether a protest has been lodged against the firm of Messrs. Houghtons, Limited, being on the list of firms invited to tender for card cabinets for the Health Insurance Commission and dwarf presses for the Local Government Board; whether he is aware that Messrs. Houghtons, Limited, only pay 8d. and 8½d. per hour to cabinet makers, while the rate of wages in London, as per agreement between the master cabinet makers and the furnishing trade, unions, 984 is 11½d. for the class of work named; is he aware that four out of five London firms requested to tender for this work pay 11½d. per hour; and, in these circumstances, will steps be taken to omit those firms who do not comply with the signed agreement between employers and workmen's organisations, so that the Fair-Wages Clause may be carried into effect?
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD BENN
The First Commissioner has made inquiries into the matter, and is satisfied, so far as the Government work is concerned, that the Fair-Wages Clause is being properly observed by Messrs. Houghtons.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware of the statement made by the President of the Board of Trade in this House that it was not sufficient to pay that rate, and that Government work should be paid for at the rate generally paid?
§ Mr. W. BENN
I am afraid my hon. Friend has not quite accurately represented what the President of the Board of Trade said. We do see as regards our work that fair wages are paid, and if it is shown that an employer is a notoriously bad employer we should take that into consideration in deciding a contract.