§ 86. Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department what number of waiters and waitresses are employed by 1254 Messrs. Lyons and Company in their restaurants at the British Empire Exhibition; what are the hours per diem which waiters and waitresses are expected to work, and what wage each class receives; has any complaint as to hours or pay been received from either; and what was it?
§ Mr. LUNN
I regret that I am not in possession of information which would enable me to answer the first and second parts of the hon. and learned Member's question. As to the third and fourth parts, while I have not received any specific complaints from either waiters or waitresses employed at the Exhibition, I have received a number of communications, both written and verbal, from various sources, in regard to the general conditions of their service. I may add that I have been endeavouring to arrange for the constitution of a body which would discuss questions of this kind, but, unfortunately, it has not at present been possible to get such a body set up. In the meantime, I have drawn the attention of my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Labour, to the matter.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Can the hon. Gentleman say what are the reasons for the delay—what is keeping back the setting up of this body?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Is it not a fact that certain employers are quite agreeable to enter and give it their support, but that certain other employers stand in the way; and who are the employers that stand in the way?
§ Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
Is it a fact that the waiters and waitresses in these restaurants are underpaid at present?
§ Mr. LUNN
I do not think I am called upon to answer that question. I have endeavoured to set up a body which may deal with complaints of that sort, if they exist, as to which I have received communications corroborating the hon. and learned Member's point. With regard to 1255 the other point, I might say that quite a number of employers are willing to come in, and the Trade Union body are considering what action they will take. One of the firms, of course, that refused to come in was that of Messrs. Lyons.
§ Mr. SIMPSON
Is it not a fact that there was a strike of waitresses at Messrs. Lyons' restaurant at Wembley?
§ Mr. D. G. SOMERVILLE
Is it not the fact that the catering, in view of the crowds there, is being handled extraordinarily well? [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]