HC Deb 23 May 1978 vol 950 cc1312-3
5. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received concerning the low basic wage rates paid to employees at Rosyth Dockyard and establishments such as HMS "Caledonia", HMS "Cochrane", and HMS "Lathalmond"; and what reply he has given.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Dr. John Gilbert)

I have received no formal representations but I am aware of the current campaign sponsored by the Transport and General Workers Union and of public statements made by the national officers of some trade unions about the need for improvement in the basic wage rates of the Industrial Civil Service as a whole. A claim for an increase for the whole Industrial Civil Service under stage 3 of the pay policy has now been tabled.

Mr. Hamilton

Does my right hon. Friend realise that when the mass lobby took place a fortnight or so ago, a large number of those people from Scotland were from Rosyth and the establishments mentioned in the Question? They claimed that their basic wage was about £32 a week. If that is the case, does he not think that that is quite scandalous? Can he say how that basic rate compares with average earnings?

Dr. Gilbert

The figures that I have in front of me show that craftsmen's average earnings are about £69 a week and that non-craftsmen's earnings range between £51 and £60 a week. The craftsmen's basic rates are about £51.50, including supplement paid under stage 1 and stage 2 of the pay policy. As my hon. Friend will be aware, under the pay policy, industrial civil servants have had the maximum amount by way of supplements ever since 1975, and there will be a new settlement date on 1st July next.

Mr. Evelyn King

Will the Minister tell us what is the take-home pay of a semi-skilled worker at a dockyard in Portland? Is it a fact that it is about half what a worker of similar skills would earn in the motor industry in Birmingham? Will he tell us why this is so?

Dr. Gilbert

The hon. Gentleman puts his question in very general terms. One needs to know about the family circumstances of people before talking about their take-home pay. But the wider question is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Civil Service.