HC Deb 08 February 1934 vol 285 cc1277-8

asked the Minister of Labour what percentage the present rates of wages, respectively, of a bricklayer, a builder's labourer, and a painter bear to the rates in 1914; and at what point, should the cost of living increase, will an increase in rates of wages be due under the prevailing agreement between the employers' and the workers' organisations?


I have prepared a detailed reply to this question which, with my hon. Friend's permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

The percentage increase in rates of wages in the building industry since 1914 varies considerably in different areas and complete information on the subject is not available.

The rates of wages of bricklayers, painters and labourers, as agreed upon between organisations of employers and workpeople in the London area*, at August, 1914, and February, 1934, are shown below:

August, February,
1914. 1934.
Bricklayers 11½d. 1s. 7d.
Painters 9½d. and 10d. † 1s. 6d.
Labourers 8d. 1s. 2¼d.

The normal hours of labour were 50 per week for 35 weeks and 44 for 17 weeks in 1914, and are 44 all the year round at the present time.

I understand that the terms of the Agreement of the National Joint Council for the Building Industry in England and Wales do not require the Council to give a decision to increase the present standard rates of wages until the average of the cost of living index figures during the period January to December inclusive exceeds 45½.

* The rates quoted apply at both dates to an area within a radius of 12 miles of Charing Cross. At February, 1934, the rates agreed upon for an area between 12 and 15 miles of Charing Cross are ½d. per hour lower for bricklayers and painters, and ¼d. per hour lower for labourers.

† These rates were agreed upon between the London Association of Master Decorators and the Trade Union concerned. There was no agreement between the London Master Builders' Association and the Trade Union.