§ 34. Mr. BUXTON
asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of prosecutions that have been instituted under the Agricultural Wages Regulation Act; the amount of fines imposed; and the arrears of wages recovered?
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Guinness)
The number of prosecutions which have been instituted under the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act, 1924, up to the present date is 142, as a result of which fines amounting to £504 have been inflicted and £2,481 in arrears of wages have been awarded to the workers concerned.
§ Mr. BUXTON
Will the Minister contemplate appointing further inspectors, in view of the fact that in many districts wages below the legal rate have been found to prevail?
§ Mr. GUINNESS
We have quite recently appointed an extra five inspectors, and I do not think we can yet judge how far that will meet the requirements.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the majority of these eases which have been dealt with, they have been dealt with as the remit of reports which have been sent on to his Department by various trade unions?
§ Mr. GUINNESS
That is often the case, and it is a very satisfactory way of getting information; but, in addition to that, we are now in a position to carry out the necessary test inspections.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
But is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are many large areas where the trade union movement has not penetrated, and it is in those areas that these cases arise?