§ 10. Mr. Allaun
asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that the trade-union rate for male attendants in the cinema industry is from £5 12s. 3d. to £5 15s. 6d. for a 48-hour week in most areas of the country, and from £2 15s. 6d. to £3 16s. 3d. for usherettes for a 44-hour week; and if he will agree to set up a commission on this industry under the Wages Councils Acts to inquire into the desirability of establishing a wages council.
§ Sir W. Monckton
I understand that these figures are broadly correct for areas outside London and the Home Counties. Rates in this industry are negotiated between the trade union and employers' association concerned, and I am informed that a claim for revised wages and conditions is now being discussed. I have received no request for the appointment of a commission of inquiry under the Wages Councils Acts.
§ Mr. Allaun
Can the Minister stand aside when such disgraceful wages are being paid by highly profitable concerns, when three groups made £14 million in profit last year and when the exhibitors have made no response to the union's proposals, made eight months ago?
§ Sir W. Monckton
The matter, as I have said in my first Answer, is now under negotiation, as I understand, between the appropriate organisations. All I can say is that I have no power to act as the hon. Member suggests in the original Question. I cannot appoint a commission of inquiry unless I am satisfied that there is no organised machinery available.
§ Mr. Baldwin
Would not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the real answer to this problem is that these attendants, who are doing unproductive work, should transfer to productive industry, in which the wages are more than double?