HC Deb 10 February 1944 vol 396 cc1873-4
2. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Labour the average wages of men employed in brick-making now and in 1939; what recent negotiations have taken place between the employers and the trade unions over wages and with what results; and is he aware of the dissatisfaction that prevails amongst the men.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Bevin)

Separate figures for brick-making are not available. The average weekly earnings for all classes of men employed in the manufacture of building bricks, roofing and flooring tiles, chimney pots, etc., in the first week of July, 1943, were 99s., the average hours of work being 52. The corresponding figures for October, 1938, the latest pre-war date for which figures are available, were 61s. 8d. and 50.3 hours. A dispute between employers and workpeople in the brick-making industry on a claim for increased wages was reported to me last month. This was referred for settlement to the National Arbitration Tribunal, who are hearing the case at an early date.

Mr. Shinwell

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in some parts of Durham, brickworkers are very discontented because of the delay in coming to a decision? Will he do whatever is in his power to expedite the decision of the tribunal?

Mr. Bevin

The tribunal is taking this matter in its order. I cannot put it ahead of other cases.

Mr. Mathers

Do these figures include Scotland?

Mr. Bevin

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Thorne

Can my right hon. Friend give the number of hand brickmakers and machine brickmakers?

Mr. Bevin

I am sorry I have not got those figures.