HC Deb 09 July 1919 vol 117 cc1812-3

asked the Prime Minister whether he is prepared to accept the Report of the Committee on Women in Industry for early application to Government Departments?

64. Major HILLS

asked the Prime Minister whether the Government have taken any steps to carry cut Recommendation 10 (14) of the War Cabinet Committee on women in industry and, as there recommended, have applied the principle of equal pay for equal work to their own establishments; and whether, also as there-recommended, in industries where employers and employed have agreed what relation women's wages shall bear to men's in any job the Government are insisting that that relation shall prevail in all Government contracts?


I would refer the hon. Members to the reply given on the 23rd May last to the hon. Member for the Workington Division by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Pending the consideration of the recommendations contained in the Report named in the question by the Whitley Councils for the Civil Service, I think that it would be premature to take action as suggested. I may point out that the adjustment of rates of wages of women in the various industries is a matter for discussion and negotiation between the employers and the representatives of the women concerned. As the hon. and gallant Member will be aware the provisions of the Fair-Wages Clause, which is inserted in Government contracts, require all Government contractors to pay the rates of wages agreed upon between the employers and the workpeople's representatives in the trades concerned.


May we take it that the line of action with regard to the question of equal pay for equal work which was laid down by the special arbitration tribunal on women's wages during the War will not be in any way reversed by the Government during the interval?


The Government has no intention of reversing it, but there is great difficulty in deciding what precisely equal work is.