HC Deb 13 November 1940 vol 365 cc1686-7
17. Mr. Cluse

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aircraft Production whether he has considered the resolution recently passed by the London Trades Council in regard to wages conditions in factories carrying out Government contracts, in which it is stated that many firms are misinterpreting Government regulations on wages and conditions, creating, as a result, confusion and misunderstanding on important sections of war industry, and leading to a worsening of customary conditions; and whether he will see to it that when, after protracted negotiations, the Fair Wages Clause has been implemented, consideration will be given to the payment of back unpaid wages to the operative staffs?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aircraft Production (Colonel Llewellin)

I am not aware of any tendency on the part of contractors to misinterpret Government regulations on wages and conditions. Whether settlement of any dispute under the Fair Wages Clause should have retrospective effect must depend on the circumstances of the particular case.

Mr. Cluse

Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman desire to inform me that, when several firms implement the regulations only after protracted negotiations and when during the period of the negotiations thousands of ordinary workmen possibly have been deprived of their legitimate wages and working conditions, his Department does not press for retrospective payment?

Colonel Llewellin

No, Sir. I am not intending to convey that impression at all. I know that my hon. Friend has one particular case in mind. We are taking up that case, and I think it very probable that we shall get complete agreement to make it restrospective.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Will the Minister keep in mind that if the Ministry of Aircraft Production issued instructions to firms in the locality concerned, instead of to firms outside that locality, those differences in conditions would not arise?