Clothing Factory (Wages).

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 24th March 1925.

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Photo of Mr Harry Day Mr Harry Day , Southwark Central

37.

asked the Secretary of State for War hew many of the employés at the Army Clothing Factory are in receipt of wages of 49s. a week, and what are their duties; and whether, in view of the high cost of living and rents in London, he has under consideration the question of increasing the wages paid?

Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

There are 141 employés at the Royal Army Clothing Department factory and store in receipt of wages of 49s. a week, which is the minimum wage for War Department unskilled adult labourers in London. This 49s. includes an increase of 5s. awarded as a. result of arbitration last year. I am not aware of any new factors in the situation which would justify a revision of this rate at present. The duties of the employés in question comprise piling bales and cases, unpacking, loading and moving made-up clothing and materials.

Photo of Mr Harry Day Mr Harry Day , Southwark Central

In view of the high cost of living, will the right hon. Gentleman consider granting bonuses to these very poorly paid people?

Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

No. As I say, the wage was increased by 5s. last year, and I cannot see that I should be justified in making any further increase at present.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the men employed in Government Departments all over the country, and particularly in the London area, are now sending in an application for a minimum wage of £3per week?

An HON. MEMBER:

Why not £5?

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

You spend as much on one dinner!

Photo of Mr Harry Day Mr Harry Day , Southwark Central

In view of the impossibility of these people existing on this very small salary, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will consider granting them an increase?

Photo of Mr Alexander Livingstone Mr Alexander Livingstone , Ross and Cromarty

Does the Minister not think that the Government should show an example to other employers?

Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

I should like to give everybody the highest wage possible, but I have to take these cases with a great number of others. These employés got a rise of 5s. last year, after an arbitration, and I see no circumstances which have occurred which make any difference between this year and last year.

Photo of Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck , Nottingham South

70.

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office the wages paid in the Royal Army Clothing Department?

Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

I have given certain information regarding the wages paid in the Royal Army Clothing Department in reply to the hon. Member for the Central Division of Southwark (Colonel Day). If my Noble Friend will let me know what further information he requires I will endeavour to supply it. I hardly think he will require a complete statement of all the rates paid to all the different grades of employés, of which there are a very large number.

Photo of Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck , Nottingham South

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable dissatisfaction owing to the fact that the wages are not sufficient to keep a man and his family?

Viscountess ASTOR:

In considering this, would the right hon. Gentleman look into the question of these men not getting any annual leave with pay beyond the ordinary Bank-holiday?

Photo of Colonel Sir Joseph Nall Colonel Sir Joseph Nall , Manchester Hulme

May I ask the Minister whether it is not fact that this Department exists largely for supplying clothing to the Territorial Army, and would it not be better to let the county associations make their own arrangements?