HC Deb 11 April 1918 vol 104 cc1668-9W
Major W. ALLEN

asked the Undersecretary of State for War if he is aware that privates in Pioneer battalions were informed on enlistment that the rate of pay in Pioneer battalions was 2d. per day more than Infantry battalions, namely, Is. 2d. as compared with Is. per day; if he is aware that in October, 1916, all the men of Pioneer battalions were requested to sign a paper accepting this 2d. per day extra to cover all claims for working pay or reverting to the pay of Is. per day with the option of claiming working pay under Royal Warrant, and if the men accepted the pay of Is. 2d. per day, being an addition of 2d. per day more than the pay of Infantry units; if he is aware that regimental paymasters have interpreted the Royal Warrant, Increase of Pay for Soldiers, General Order, No. 5944, page 3, paragraph 5, Minimum Rates, 4th December, 1917, to mean that Pioneer battalion (not Royal Engineers) privates shall be increased thereby 4d. per day while the pay of Infantry battalions is increased by 6d. per day, and, if so, what action he proposes to take to keep faith with the men who enlisted in Pioneer battalions on the understanding that their pay should be 2d. per day additional to that received by Infantry units; if he is aware that the regimental paymasters interpret the above-mentioned General Order to mean that sergeants in Pioneer battalions may retain this 2d. per day additional to that paid to similar ranks in Infantry battalions while privates of Pioneer battalions arc, by the interpretation of the General Order by paymasters, paid at the same rates as Infantry battalions; and what action he proposes to take to remedy the dissatisfaction amongst the Privates of Pioneer battalions?


The increase of pay under the article of the Royal Warrant referred to did not take the form of a specific addition of 6d. to the Infantry rates, but a general levelling up of all rates to Is. 6d. The rate of pay to these pioneers has accordingly been raised to that level, but they are now allowed to earn working pay from which they were formerly debarred. This provision will be found on page 4 of the Instructions referred to. I am not aware of any differentiation having been made by paymasters between sergeants and privates, as suggested, and should be glad if my hon. and gallant Friend would bring any case of which he is aware to my notice.