HC Deb 12 May 1924 vol 173 cc925-6W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether he is aware that the waitresses employed by the catering firm holding the contract for catering at the Wembley Exhibition are paid 15s. per week as wages; and will he take steps to ensure that all workers employed by the contractors shall receive the full trade union rate of wages?


I have no information as to the rates of wages being paid by the catering contractors at the British Empire Exhibition to their employés. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I have just given to the hon. Member for Brentford and Chiswick (Colonel Morden).

Colonel MORDEN

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether his attention has been drawn to the admissions of the chief administrator of the British Empire Exhibition. Sir Travers Clarke, that American pine was used in the construction of the royal pavilion, despite the Agent-General of British Columbia's statement that Canadian wood was suitable and available; whether he is aware that foreign-born waiters are employed in restaurants; that large purchases of Belgian glassware and Czechslovakian crockery for use in the Exhibition have been made; that the pay of waiters and waitresses is inadequate and the subject of many protests; and whether, in view of these facts, he will assure the House that the Government guarantee of £500,000 will be withheld until these mistakes are rectified?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. If, however, the hon. and gallant Member refers to the Royal Apartments in the Pavilion of His Majesty's Government, I should like to make it clear that one of the most prominent features of their design is the panelling and flooring which have been carried out by Lord Roberts Memorial Workshops in the most beautiful timbers which could be procured within the Empire. As regards the second part of the question, I am informed that any foreign waiters who may be employed by the catering contractors are part of their regular organisation. The pay of the waiters and waitresses is primarily a question for the catering contractors and their employés, but I hope to have an opportunity this week of discussing conditions of employment at the Exhibition with the various interests involved. I am informed that the catering contractors have felt themselves obliged to obtain a certain portion of their supplies of glassware from Belgium rather than from this country owing to the great difference in cost involved, but that no crockery of Czechslovakian origin is being used in the Exhibition. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.