65. Wing-Commander James
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether he will make a statement upon the status of certain trade union officials now operating upon sites of large contracts being executed under the direction of his Ministry?
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works (Mr. Hicks)
In March, 1941, the four principal organisations representing employers and workmen in the building and civil engineering industry submitted proposals to the Government on the ways and means of securing improved output on essential works. Among other suggestions, they jointly proposed, with a view to securing smoother running of important jobs and quicker handling of difficulties, that a trade union officer should be appointed to the larger Government contracts, who would be employed whole time for the purpose of consulting with the site management on general labour questions. This proposal was adopted as a war-time measure. There are 52 trade union officers operating on about 400sites. The salary, as approved by the Treasury, is £6 15s 0s. Per week, with subsistence and daily travelling expenses as follow: If living at home—£1 0s. 0d. per week; if living away from home, £2 0s. 0d. per week. The functions 2302 of these site officers are to deal as far as practicable with any actual or possible causes of labour difficulties, and with such things as travelling, canteen and other welfare arrangements.
In what respects does the function of these officers differ from the ordinary trade union practice accepted by the industry?
§ Mr. Hicks
Ordinarily there is not a site representative, appointed by the trade union, devoting his whole time to the one site or group of sites but, on account of the size of the jobs and the various difficulties arising, the four principal organisations urged upon the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Labour the desirability of adopting such a course, and their suggestion was accepted.
In view of the fact that this is an entirely new thing in industry, I beg to give notice that, in order to allow of further discussion upon it, I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. and gallant Member said that he would raise the matter on the Adjournment, and that prevents any further questons being asked about it now.