HC Deb 19 October 1954 vol 531 c1006
1. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Labour what considerations led him to approve the proposal of the Catering Wages Board by which tips are regarded as part of the basic wage.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Watkinson)

The Catering Wages Act, 1943, requires my right hon. and learned Friend to make an Order to give effect to proposals submitted by a Wages Board unless he refers them back for reconsideration. He decided that there were no circumstances which would justify reference back in this case.

Mr. Robinson

Does not the hon. Gentleman recall how long it took the workers in the catering industry to get a square deal in the matter of wages? Does he not agree that this Order is definitely a retrograde step? Will he say what the view of the trade union concerned was?

Mr. Watkinson

The difficulty is that the Minister, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman knows, has no power under the Act to amend proposals or to approve them in part. I would also remind the hon. Gentleman that in January, 1943, the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Bill said that wages boards would be free to deal with tips in any way they thought necessary.

Mr. Callaghan

Can the hon. Gentleman say how much a week catering workers have lost as a result of this decision?

Mr. Watkinson

I will do so if the hon. Member will put that Question on the Order Paper.