State Railways (Wages).

Oral Answers to Questions — India. – in the House of Commons on 16th July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the Secretary of State for India the financial surplus on the Indian State railways during the last official year; whether, in view of the low pay of the staff and the small allowances granted to meet increased cost of living, any of that surplus is to be used for the purpose of granting an increase in pay; and whether any recent consultation on this matter has taken place with the railwaymen's trade union?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

The railway surplus for 1941–42 was expected to be Rs. 26.2 crores (£19,650,000). This figure was arrived at after charging a sum of nearly Rs. 1.5 crores (£1,100,000) for payment of cost-of-living bonuses to the lower-paid staff, which was fixed after discussion, and in agreement, with the representatives of organised labour. The surplus earned by the railways, except so far as required to be placed to reserve, goes to the relief of the Indian taxpayer, who has previously had to bear the burden of the unprofitable years of depression.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Is it not a fact that the organised workers on the Indian State railways are dissatisfied, and in the circumstances does not the right hon. Gentleman think it proper that of the £19,000,000 some portion should be allocated for a reasonable increase in wages?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

As I explained, the increases were granted after discussion with and in agreement with representatives of railway labour.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Are not the wages still miserably low in many cases, and do they not require some augmentation?