§ Mr. SITCH
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions whether he is aware that a request was made to the Department to sanction an increase of salary to the chemists employed in His Majesty's factory, Oldbury; whether this request was refused; and, if so, will he state the reason?
Mr. J. HOPE
I am informed that the request was refused on the ground that the chemists employed at His Majesty's factory, Oldbury, were at least as well paid as chemists employed at other Government factories, and that it was impossible to consider the case of a single factory apart from the general question of the salaries paid to all chemists and other technical officers in the employment of the Government.
§ Mr. R. YOUNG
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions whether he is aware that amongst the chemists employed in explosive factories who signed the memorial praying for a revision of salary there were at least 100 associates and fellows of the Institute of Chemistry; whether the work done by these chemists in developing and maintaining the output of some of the most indispensable munitions of war has been 201W recognised; whether he is aware that the memorialists were informed that the question of principle raised in the memorial could not be admitted toy the Ministry, that the salary of the chemists could not be compared with the earnings of tradesmen, and that the Ministry objected to meetings being held by any section, of the staff of factories under their control to pass resolutions asking for a revision of salaries and appointing deputations to wait upon the superintendent in respect thereof; whether this statement was made with his sanction; and, if so, will he state the reason?
I see no reason to doubt the suggestion in the first part of the question. I fully recognise the admirable work done by chemists in developing and maintaining the output of munitions. The statement mentioned in the third and fourth parts of the question were made by an officer of the Department, but must not be taken to express the considered view of the Ministry. I hope to make a more complete statement on this subject on Thursday in answer to the hon. Member's question.