HC Deb 23 February 1915 vol 70 cc171-2

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any steps have yet been taken to bring before the various trade boards (which have fixed legal minima rates of wages at from 2¾d. to 6d. per hour at a time when the cost of living was at least 20 per cent. lower than at present) the question of revising these rates, affecting virtually 250,000 wage-earners in view of the great rise of prices; and whether he will cause the matter to be brought promptly before each of the trade boards, with a view to any proper action being taken?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

The Tailoring Trade Board (Great Britain) recently gave notice that they proposed to vary the minimum time-rate for women employed in ready-made and wholesale bespoke tailoring from 3¼d. to 3½d. an hour. The Trade Boards, which consist of representatives of employers and representatives of workers in equal proportions together with a small number of appointed members, are empowered in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the Act to vary minimum rates of wages without any direction from the Board of Trader if they think it expedient to do so. It appears to me to be for the workers' representatives on the Trade Board to raise the question of an increase if they consider that the circumstances warrant it.