HC Deb 21 January 1937 vol 319 cc321-2
10. Mr. Lyons

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can indicate the approximate upswing of wages for the year ended 31st December, 1936?

Mr. E. Brown

In those industries for which statistics are regularly compiled, the changes in rates of wages reported to my Department during the year ended 31st December, 1936, are estimated to have resulted in a net increase of about £487,000 a week in the full-time weekly rates of wages of about 4,000,000 work-people. These statistics are exclusive of changes in the rates of wages of agricultural labourers, domestic servants, shop assistants, clerks and Government employés, and they relate in the main to changes collectively arranged between organised groups of employers and work-people. It is estimated that, in the industries for which information is available, the average level of full-time weekly rates of wages rose by about 3 per cent. during this period, this being the largest proportional increase in any single year since 1924.

Mr. Lyons

Is not this record figure a reflection of the confidence created by the National Government?

Mr. Brown

The House and the country will draw their own conclusions.

Mr. Thorne

Is the Minister aware that there are very few instances of employers of labour giving advances of wages until they have been compelled to do so by organised labour?

Mr. Brown

I think one of the striking and welcome facts about this situation is that that is not so.

Mr. Lawson

Are we to take it from the answer that the only reliable information at the Ministry is that based upon the organised workers?

Mr. Brown

This information has been given for years on this basis.

Mr. Lawson

And it refers to collective bargaining?

Mr. Brown

It shows of course, the great advantage of collective bargaining.

Mr. Gallacher

Arising out of the original answer, does the Minister not consider that he would give real wages a real upward swing by pushing forward with payment for holidays?