HC Deb 05 May 1924 vol 173 cc51-2W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many women were employed in His Majesty's Dockyard, Devonport, in each of the years from 1906 to the present date; in what trades they were employed, what wages they received, and what number of hours were worked per week; and whether he will take steps to see that work can be increased in those trades in which women work, in order to give as much employment as possible to the widows and orphans of service men and dockyard employés?


The numbers employed in each of the years for which the figures are readily available are:

1906 171 1919 702
1907 170 1920 205
1909 118 1921 174
1914 187 1922 123
1916 615 1923 88
1917 895 1924 79
1918 1097

The principal occupations in which the women are employed are:—Flag making and other needle work, upholstering, French polishing, and as spinners in roperies. During the War the number of occupations was greatly increased and women were employed on a variety of work usually done by men, including operating machine tools in engineering shops, acetylene welding, electrical wiring and winding small armatures. Before the War the scale of wages was from 15s. to 20s. a week. During the War and in the years immediately following the War there was a series of general advances in wages, and in January, 1921, the scale reached from 41s. to 45s. a week. Reductions have since taken place and the present scale is 31s. to 35s. a week. The working hours amounted to 48 a week up to 1919, when they were reduced to 47 a week. The amount of work suitable for women which can be allocated to the dockyards depends upon Naval requirements.