HC Deb 03 May 1916 vol 82 cc4-5
2. Mr. HOGGE

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the Admiralty is paying ½d. per hour less at Rosyth than other contractors; whether, owing to the reduction in the hours of labour, general labourers employed by the Admiralty are receiving 5s. per week less than they did a year ago, and whether he is aware that there is discontent among the labourers as a result of those allegations; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?


There are two classes of labourers involved in my hon. Friend's question, those employed by the contractor and those in the direct employment of the Admiralty. As regards the former, the rate paid is the rate paid by other contractors in the locality engaged on Government work. As regards the labourers in the direct employment of the Admiralty, the rate is ½d. an hour less. But as a set-off against that, these men, failing accommodation in the locality, are allowed free railway travel between Rosyth and various centres in the district. Further, there are considerations attaching to employment in the service of the Admiralty which do not apply to men not so employed. As regards wages paid to Admiralty employés, there has been no reduction in the rates paid, though, of course, with the fluctuations of work and overtime the total earnings of some of the men may be less than they were a year ago; on the other hand the total earnings of others may be more. So far as I know, the suggestion made in the latter part of the question is unfounded. But in any case, the men have open to them ample means for representing any complaints.


Will the right hon. Gentleman answer that part of the question in which it is stated they are receiving 5s. a week less than they did a year ago, and bear in mind the great increase in the price of commodities?


There is no alteration in rates. Earnings may fluctuate, as I have said. Some men may be earning more and some less than at any previous moment.