Customs and Excise (Cleaners).

Oral Answers to Questions — Government Departments. – in the House of Commons on 10th December 1931.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

81.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that there are employed by the collector of Customs and Excise at 184, Deansgate, Manchester, women cleaners who work 30 hours per week for a basic wage of 13s., plus a cost-of-living bonus of 6s. 6d.; that the Government Minor Grades Association, to which these women belong, has been notified that the Commissioners of Customs and Excise cannot increase that rate; and, seeing that a total wage of 19s. 6d. per week is insufficient for work of this nature or even to obtain the necessities of life, whether he will take steps to remedy this position?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

The lowness of the total remuneration is due to the relatively small number of hours worked. Expressed as an hourly rate the payment is not out of scale with the recognised industrial rates in Manchester. The position of these employés will be borne in mind in connection with the possibility of arranging for longer hours of work with a smaller staff.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Is not the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that, although the hours may, be comparatively short, these women are engaged for a full week and are unable to obtain any other employment; and does he not think that there is ample room for reviewing the rate and conditions?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I do not think that I can agree with the hon. Member's contention that the women are engaged a full week and are not able to engage in any other occupation.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Is not the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that these women must be available to the Customs and Excise office every day in each week; otherwise, their services would be dispensed with altogther; and, in these circumstances, does he not think that he might very well reconsider the position?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I understand that the hon. Gentleman contends that they have to be available for the whole of the day during the six days—

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

May I make myself clear and ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman if he is aware that these women must be available for the whole of the six days, or otherwise they would be dismissed?