HC Deb 23 July 1918 vol 108 cc1632-4
45. Captain BARNETT

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that the women teachers in the service of the London County Council Education Committee have asked for arbitration of the questions of commencing salary for fully trained certified women teachers and the immediate improvement of the financial position of all women teachers, and that such arbitration has been refused; and, if so, whether he will take steps to introduce the necessary legislation to enable them to claim arbitration in such matters as of right?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Herbert Fisher)

The Prime Minister has asked me to answer this question. I am aware that on the 11th June women teachers in the employment of the London County Council asked the Council to submit the two questions referred to to arbitration, and I understand that the council are considering the Report of their Education Committee on the matter to-day. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer given yesterday to the hon. Member for East St. Pancras.


May I ask the Leader of the House to answer the last part of that question?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)

No, Sir. I am not prepared at present to say that we can introduce this legislation.


Would it not be possible to make representations to the Education Department to introduce legislation? Have representations been made?


Could it not be done by Regulation under the Defence of the Realm Act?

81. Mr. WILES

asked the President of the Board of Education if his attention has been called to the fact that the increased scale of salaries recently granted by the London County Council to women teachers in its schools has resulted in many cases in an actual decrease in money payments owing to the withdrawal by the Council of the original war bonus; and whether, in order to remedy this state of affairs as well as to prevent the depletion of the teaching staff, he will state whether he will intervene in the matter?


I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Members for West Ham and North Somerset on the 10th June, a copy of which I am sending him. I am watching the situation very carefully, but I do not think that a favourable opportunity for my intervention has at present arisen.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if these teachers have not asked for arbitration, and whether, in the, case of a dispute, it is only a reasonable proposition that both sides should agree to arbitration, provided that they are desirous of doing what is fair one towards another?


I cannot judge whether the course indicated by the hon. and gallant Member is reasonable or not. I have not been invited up to the present moment by either party to intervene.


But may I ask if, in the general course of events, arbitration, where there is a difference of opinion, is not the most favourable for both sides?


Does my right hon. Friend realise that these ladies are denied a right which is given to telegraph girls and boy messengers?