HC Deb 16 December 1948 vol 459 cc1382-3
56. Mr. Lipson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the annual cost of increasing the pay of women cleaners employed in Government Departments from 1s. 7¾id. per hour to 2s.; and if he will now agree to do this, in view of the early hour at which they commence work and the distances they have to travel from their homes to their work.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

£225,000 directly. The present agreed rates, as adjusted in the offer recently made by my Department, take account of all the relevant factors of their employment.

Mr. Lipson

Does that answer mean that the Government are refusing the request for a rate of 2s. per hour? Does my right hon. Friend think that that is an unreasonable remuneration in the light of the present value of money and other circumstances?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

The short answer to that is that if those concerned are dissatisfied, they have the usual trade union machinery which they can use.

Mrs. Jean Mann

Would my right hon. Friend communicate with his right hon. and learned Friend with a view to receiving a deputation of the women Members of Parliament, who are shocked at this state of affairs?

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister aware that if the miners, engineers, railwaymen or any other section of the workers were offered a farthing per hour increase, there would be a stoppage that would paralyse the country at such an insult?

Mr. Awbery

Is industrial machinery operated in this case in regard to these women and their demand for an increase in the rate of pay?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

It is obvious that wage agreements cannot be negotiated across the Floor of the House at Question Time. There is adequate machinery available. If those concerned are dissatisfied with this award, they can quite easily take it to arbitration.

Mr. Lipson

In view of the mean attitude taken up by the Treasury, I beg to give notice that I shall take the earliest opportunity of raising this matter on the Adjournment.