HC Deb 28 November 1933 vol 283 c696
69 and 70. Mr. PIKE

asked the Minister of Labour (1) whether he is aware that for the years 1931 and 1932 from a total of 728 inspected establishments of the aerated water trades of England and Wales 60 were discovered to be guilty of wages non-compliance, involving over £600; whether he is aware that in only two instances were criminal proceedings taken; and whether he will assure the House that the arrears in respect of the remaining 68 establishments were paid;

(2) if he is aware that from an average of 25 per cent. of the total aerated water trades establishments inspected during 1932 and 1933 no less than 10 per cent. were proved guilty of wages non-compliance; and if he will state the nature of the proceedings adopted to ensure the payment of arrears due?


During the two years ended December, 1932, the latest for which figures are available, there were 733 inspections of establishments in the aerated water trade equivalent to 51 per cent. of the trade and underpayment was found in 60 cases, that is, in approximately 8 per cent. of the establishments inspected. Payment of arrears was secured in each case to the total amount stated, together with an undertaking, where appropriate, as to future compliance. In two out of the 60 cases criminal proceedings were taken.


Does my right hon. Friend not think that if the provision for criminal proceedings in case of noncompliance was tightened up considerably the possibility of breaches of the law in future would be much less?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if these workers were trade unionists they would not be put upon in this way?


I shall never hesitate to take criminal proceedings if they are justified, but I am reasonably anxious not to take proceedings when I think they are not justified. In every one case full compliance has been obtained and the full rate paid.