HC Deb 16 March 1955 vol 538 cc1270-1
7. Brigadier Clarke

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what representation has been made to him regarding the low rate of wages enjoyed by the unskilled workers in Her Majesty's Dockyards.

Mr. Digby

No special representations have been received on behalf of unskilled workers, but the trade union side of the Shipbuilding Trades Joint Council has recently tabled a general claim for wage increases covering all grades within the Council's terms of reference.

Brigadier Clarke

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that these unskilled workers receive less than agricultural workers? Will he do what he can to help them in their wage claims?

Mr. Digby

I do not think I can very well comment whilst negotiations are going on, but of course we shall look at the claim in the usual way.

Mr. Bottomley

Bearing in mind the special responsibility of the Civil Lord in this matter, will the hon. Gentleman agree that the National Joint Industrial Council machinery would work better if the First Lord were able to get, in the Estimates, enough money to meet the requirements of those employed in the dockyards?

Mr. Digby

I cannot agree with that. We do pay rates comparable with those in outside industry. If in some cases earnings are lower, one of the main reasons is that there is far less overtime worked in these dockyards.

Mr. Remnant

Is my hon. Friend aware that the comparison with the agricultural worker is not a fair one, because he is a highly skilled person?

Mr. Hamilton

Will the Civil Lord agree that the personnel mentioned in this Question will be among the hardest hit if the Admiralty insists on postponement of the assisted travel scheme, particularly as it affects Rosyth Dockyard in Fife?

Mr. Digby

I do not think the hon. Member should assume that the assisted travel scheme is to be ended, although we look at these travel schemes from time to time.

8. Brigadier Clarke

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how the wages of skilled and semi-skilled workers in Her Majesty's Dockyards compare with wages paid for similar skilled and semi-skilled trades in industry.

Mr. Digby

As the reply contains a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the Official Report.

Brigadier Clarke

Will the Civil Lord bear in mind that there is very little

Dockyards† Engineering* Shipbuilding Ship repairing
s. d. s. d. s. d. s. d.
Unskilled 127 10 124 10 125 0 128 0
Skilled 147 10 144 10 147 0 150 0
* Rates in the engineering industry are agreed on a district basis and the rates quoted above apply to the majority of districts. The highest district rates (excluding South Wales where special considerations apply) are at Coventry where they were: unskilled, 128s. 1½d.; skilled, 146s. 2¾d.
†Workpeople employed in Her Majesty's Dockyards and engaged directly on ship repair work (constructive, engineering, electrical and Captains' Departments) receive additionally a ship repair allowance of 1s. 6d. a week.