HC Deb 16 August 1916 vol 85 cc1835-7
20 and 55. Mr. W. THORNE

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) if soldiers are engaged from time to time unloading barges at the Woolwich Arsenal; what hours the soldiers are called upon to work and what pay they received; if a number of civilians are being discharged from the Arsenal and soldiers put to work in their place; if he intends taking any action; and (2) if some time ago a number of soldiers were working for Messrs. Leithams, flour millers, at York; what pay the soldiers were receiving for the work performed; how many hours per day they were working; if the firm were called upon to pay the full standard rates of wages to the War Office; and if he intends taking any action in the matter?


asked the Minister of Munitions whether he can now state if each individual of the 102 soldier-workmen at the Llanelly Steel Works receives the equivalent of the standard wage current in the district; if the War Office makes any and, if so, what profit out of some of the men; how many of these men are medically unfit; if they are punished for being late in the morning by being paraded at night; if there are among them shop assistants, ship painters, electricians, colliers, cabinet makers, navvies, general labourers, and paper-hangers; how many were steel workers before the War; and if ho will consider the advisability of taking steps to secure that all the unfit and incompetent among these men should be absolutely discharged from the Army so that they may return to their own proper and accustomed avocations?


I have no information as to these particular cases, but, as the hon. Members are aware from the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Stockport on Monday, new Regulations are being issued under which the pay of soldiers employed as working parties outside the Army will be based on the local rates for similar work.


How long will it be before these Regulations are made public property?


I think the Regulation was approved last night. I will send a copy of it to the hon. Member.


Is there going to be any time limit fixed as lo the length of time for which a working party can go on without the soldiers being placed on the Reserve?


No. I think the arrangements in regard to the length of time will remain as they are—that is, a maximum of two months without further reference to the Army Council.