§ Sir. Mr. CROOKS
asked the Minister of Munitions whether he is aware that the men who have been trained as shell examiners, and now employed at Ponders End under the Inspection Department, Woolwich Arsenal, have been requested to sign a document agreeing to the withdrawal of the subsistence allowance of 4s. per day now allowed for working at a distance; whether he is aware that the wages of these men, apart from the subsistence allowance, is only 9½d. per hour, and that the men have therefore come to regard the subsistence allowance as part wages in view of the responsibility of their work; and whether he will give instructions that the incomes of these men are not to be reduced, and that those who have refused to sign the document are not to be victimised?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
Subsistence allowance is granted to employés of this Department who are transferred in the interests of the Department from one locality to another, and is intended to cover extra cost of living. This allowance is given only to men employed away from their base, and is subject to reconsideration after three months. The Department could not agree, in any case, to the allowance being considered as part of wages. The 9½d. an hour mentioned is not representative of the rates of the men so employed, although it is within the scale of the lowest class of male examiner. An examiner on the minimum rate of the lowest class at Ponders End is now earning an average of about £2 6s. per week on day shift and £3 10s. on night shift, exclusive of subsistence allowance.