HC Deb 10 August 1916 vol 85 cc1216-7
47. Mr. O'GRADY

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that discontent exists among the woodworkers in the aircraft industry owing to the refusal of the committee on production to grant an increase in wages; and whether, in view of the increase in the cost of living, he will appoint a small committee of practical men with a knowledge of the industry to inquire into the wages and conditions of the workmen in the factories and to report?

112. Mr. T. WILSON

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he has received a request from the executive committees of the societies whose members are engaged in the woodworking trades in aircraft factories to meet a deputation to discuss with them the question of wages and conditions in these factories; if he is aware that there is discontent and unrest among the workmen owing to the refusal of the committee on production refusing them an advance of wages; whether, in view of these circumstances, he proposes to receive the deputation; and, if not, whether he will appoint a small committee of practical men to inquire into the grievances of the men employed in controlled aircraft factories?


I have been asked to answer these questions. I am informed that the Committee on Production have recently had referred to them claims advanced on behalf of woodworkers in the aircraft industry in the London and Glasgow districts to be paid the highest rates of wages of men in the building trade and that the committee decided that claims to follow the building trade in this respect had not been established. I understand that the men generally have had advances of wages by way of "war bonus" or "war wages" since the outbreak of War, and there seems to be no reason for appointing a committee.


May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman is aware of the fact that woodworkers engaged in this special aircraft work are receiving something like 2d. an hour less than they would receive for making ammunition boxes?


I was not aware of that.


It is a fact.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that quite a number of these skilled men are receiving very little more than unskilled men are receiving?