HC Deb 11 June 1952 vol 502 cc203-4
43. Mr. Lewis

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that Mr. Samuel Skinner, aged 75 years, who was em- ployed as a watchman at his B Depot, 1001/Q, Montague Buildings, West Road. E.15, at a weekly salary of £2 4s. was dismissed on economy grounds on 28th April; and whether, in view of this man's good service and the small amount of money involved, he will consider reemploying him.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Dr. Charles Hill)

Staff at the Buffer Depots are employed by the Ministry's operating agents and not by the Ministry of Food, which has no say in individual engagements or dismissals.

Mr. Shurmer

In view of the fact that an old man of 75 has been exploited with a wage of £2 4s. a week, will the Parliamentary Secretary make inquiries throughout Food Ministry offices in the country to see that other men are not also being exploited by being paid low wages?

Dr. Hill

I should in fairness say that this was a part-time relief watchman, and the wage should be considered in relation to the time worked.

Mr. Lewis

Do I understand from the Minister's reply that he has nothing to do with the payment of the wage or the making of any grant towards part-time employment?

Dr. Hill

The Ministry enters into an arrangement with the agents for the administration of these warehouses and stores and meets the cost incurred in toto. However, the Ministry is excluded from the task of making appointments or the dismissal of staff.

Mr. Mikardo

Surely the arrangements between the Ministry and the contractors are covered by the Fair Wages Clause, and will the hon. Gentleman say whether he has investigated if this particular contractor is operating the Fair Wages Clause?

Dr. Hill

The hon. Gentleman is quite right, but the question about this part-time officer is not, I understand, about his wage but his dismissal as part of the reduction of staff.

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