HC Deb 27 January 1944 vol 396 cc833-4
4. Mr. Butcher

asked the Minister of Labour whether steps are taken by his Department to correlate the wage rates of various industries, or whether these are solely determined by agreement between employers' associations and trades unions.

Mr. Bevin

Apart from the statutory wage-fixing machinery in certain trades and industries, it is the Government policy to entrust the responsibility for wage regulation in war-time to the industrial joint machinery, save where statutory wage-fixing already existed, subject only to the Conditions of Employment and National Arbitration Order which provides for the reference of unsettled claims to arbitration.

Mr. Butcher

Has my right hon. Friend any observations to make on the recent award to surface mine-workers of 85s. a week in the light of the wages of agricultural workers of 65s.?

Mr. Bevin

No, Sir; I never discuss awards in this House.

Sir Herbert Williams

In cases where the Government are really paying the money, do not the Government take some interest in these discussions between employers and employed?

Mr. Bevin

I am satisfied that the parties to this joint industrial machinery have acted with a sense of responsibility, as much as if the Government were not paying during the war.