§ 50. Mr. GOLDSMITH
asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the strike of the men employed by the New Explosives Company at Stowmarket; whether this firm are contractors to the War Office; and, if so, whether he is aware that a number of the men employed by the firm are only in receipt of a weekly wage of 15s. 11d.; whether such wage is below the rate of wages paid in works of a similar nature; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take so that the men engaged on Government contracts in explosive works receive an adequate wage?
§ 58. Mr. WILLIAM THORNE
asked the Secretary of State for War whether the New Explosive Company, Limited, at Stowmarket, have a contract with the War Office; if about 400 workmen came out on strike because the firm pay some of the men 3½d. per hour, and also because the firm refused to grant the men an advance of 1d. per hour; whether the company are violating the Fair-Wage contract Clause; and if he intends taking any action in the matter?
§ Mr. H. BAKER
At the present moment this firm does not hold any War Office contract. I have no information as to the dispute, but from the reports in the Press it appears to be of a general character, and in any case I do not think that the War Office could usefully intervene while the strike is in progress.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
Did the hon. Gentleman say that the company were not contractors to the War Office at the present time?
§ Mr. W. THORNE
May I ask whether in the event of this firm wanting to make a contract with the War Office, they will take into consideration the low wages they pay and refuse them the contract?
§ Mr. H. BAKER
I cannot give the date. They have frequently had contracts with the War Office, but I am not sure of the date of the last one.
51. Mr. SHIRLEY BENN
asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in accordance with the Resolution passed by this House on 10th March, 1909, a notice. is exhibited in the workshops of the War Department in Plymouth and the neighbourhood to the effect that the Government will pay rates of wages and observe hours of labour not less favourable than those commonly recognised by employers and trade societies, or, in the absence of such recognised wages and hours, those which in practice prevail amongst good employers in the trade in the district where the work is carried out; whether the masters in the building trade conceded an extra ½d. on 1st May last, making the pay 8½d. per hour, with the promise of an extra ½d. in six months, and that plumbers received a full increase of. 1d. on 1st May last, making their pay 9d. per hour; and whether, in these circumstances, he will take steps to give effect to the Resolution passed by this House?