§ 32. Mr. BUTCHER
asked the Secretary of State for War on what date the labourers employed in the Government Ordnance Factory near Selby, Yorkshire, received an advance of wages of 6d. a week to compensate them for the withdrawal of the three months' half-pay to which they were entitled when sick before the National Insurance Act came into force; whether the last advance of wages which they received was an advance of 1s. 6d. per week granted to them in February, 1913, to date back to 1st. July, 1912; whether this advance of 1s. 6d. was granted to them in order to bring their wages more nearly up to the trade-union rate of wages in the district; whether they were informed, and, if so, how that any part of this advance of 1s. 6d. per week was to compensate them for the withdrawal of their sick pay; and whether the present wages of such Government employés are at a less rate per hour than the trade union rate of wages for labourers in the district?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Mr. Harold Baker)
An advance of 1s. a week was given from 1st April, 1911, of which 6d. was in anticipation of the Insurance Act, but as I explained on the 16th instant, did not involve withdrawal of three months' half-pay. 1755 The advance of 1s. 6d. a week given in February, 1913, was granted in accordance with the Fair-Wages Resolution of this House. The fact that compensation had been previously given was made clear by a War Office circular issued in July, 1912. The trade-union rate of wages is not in question, but I am making further inquiry as to the prevailing rates in the district.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether any intimation was given to these employés that the advance was given in anticipation of the Insurance Act?