HC Deb 25 February 1946 vol 419 c1564
64. Mr. Turton

asked the Minister of Agriculture what will be the rate payable by farmers to W.A.E.C.s in respect of prisoner-of-war labour after 1st April; and whether farmers will be permitted to give prisoners of war, personally, bonuses for good work.

Mr. T. Williams

On and after 1st April, 1946, farmers will be required to pay for Italian and German prisoner-of-war labour employed in agriculture a rate equivalent to the minimum wage rate fixed by the Agricultural Wages Board for regular adult male workers. The answer to the last part of the hon. Member's Question is in the negative.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

May I ask my right hon. Friend what are the hours these men will work, and if they will be the normal hours for agricultural workers; and if not, what payments are to be made to them?

Mr. Williams

I understand that a prisoner of war will work the same number of hours as the ordinary home agricultural worker, for which he will receive the same hourly pay.

Mr. Hudson

Can the Minister say whether, in the course of today's Debate, he will explain how he is going to do that? Is he aware that, at the moment, German prisoners of war turn up at 9 a.m. and leave at 4 30 p.m.?

Mr. Williams

My right hon. Friend will clearly understand that when I say that a prisoner of war is to be paid the rate for the job, that means the hourly rate for the job

Mr. Turton

Will the Minister consider giving some inducement to make these Italian prisoners do a little bit of work on agriculture?

Mr. Williams

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put that question to the Secretary of State for War.