HC Deb 04 June 1924 vol 174 cc1224-5
12. Mr. SHORT

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that a dispute exists between Messrs. Vickers and Company, Barrow, and the Boilermakers' Society concerning the piece-work rates to be paid in connection with the construction of the new cruiser; and, if so, whether he proposes to take any action relative thereto?

The CIVIL LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Hodges)

It is understood that some difficulty has arisen regarding piece-work rates. So far as is known, no occasion has yet arisen for any intervention by the Admiralty.


Is the hon. Gentleman making inquiries in this matter, and, if necessary, will he intervene?


When we have had a definite complaint, we shall make inquiries.


Is any complaint likely to, be raised by the contractors, and can the hon. Gentleman say if, in ordinary conditions of peace, the general conditions of day work should not be observed in order to spread the job over a longer period, employing more men? Piece-work always means quicker and larger profits.


We cannot undertake to deal with any matters that do not come to us officially, either from the trade unions concerned or from the representatives of the employers. if there is a dispute in existence.


Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that members of the Boilermakers' Society have refused to commence work on these cruisers until they secure satisfaction regarding these rates?


The Boilermakers' Society has not made any representations to us, and that is the whole point of my reply.

27. Mr. J. HARRIS

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what is the cost of the new cruisers, including guns, armour and ammunition equipment, now being constructed in the Royal dockyards and by private firms, respectively?


Arrangements are lot yet sufficiently far advanced to admit of a reliable statement of the total cost being prepared, but as far as the construction of the hulls is concerned, it is anticipated that the cost of the dockyard-built ships will compare favourably with the cost of the ships to be built in private yards.


Do we understand from that, that work is not yet begun, and, therefore, has not yet absorbed any of the unemployed?


The hon. Member should not understand anything more than I have given in the answer.


Will the hon. Gentleman take steps to see that the work is brought forward for the purpose for which the Estimate was given?


I can assure my hon. Friend that everything is being done to expedite the work as rapidly as possible.

Captain BENN

Does the hon. Gentleman accept the statement of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) that the work was put in hand to absorb unemployment?

Commander BELLAIRS

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in these comparisons the Government are their own rating authority, and in the case of a private enterprise they get back a substantial amount in Income Tax?


All the facts have been taken into consideration in the answer I have given.