§ 14. Mr. O'GRADY
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any communication has been received in his Department from certain stone firms in Guernsey respecting an application from the men in their employ (stone crackers) 1978 for an increase in wages to compensate for the increase in the cost of living; whether he is aware that the wages of the stone crackers in the employ of the firms in question are 17s. and 18s. a week, and the firms have refused to submit the matter to arbitration; and, if so, will he, having regard to the fact that these firms have contracts to supply the Imperial Government with macadam, take steps to have the issue between the workmen and the firms considered by one of the methods of arbitration provided for in the Munitions of War Act?
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
Inquiries were made into this case by the Chief Industrial Commissioner in August last, when it was stated by the firms concerned that the state and prospects of their trade were not such as to enable an advance of wages to be given. I understand that, owing to lack of orders, it is only with great difficulty that the firms have been able to avoid closing their works. The men concerned are not engaged on munition work.