asked the Minister of Labour if she will cause inquiries to be made and issue a report on the movements and changes which may have taken place in the wages and conditions of the workpeople in those industries covered by the provisions of the Safeguarding of Industries Act for the period which those provisions have been in operation?
I doubt whether it would now be practicable to obtain, by special inquiries, particulars for past years which would provide a satisfactory basis for a comprehensive report on this subject. Some information, however, is available as to such general changes in rates of wages as have taken place and I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement summarising this information.
Following is the statement:
No general change in rates of wages or normal weekly hours of labour has been reported since the imposition of the Duties now in operation under the Safeguarding of Industries Act in any of the industries to which these Duties apply, except fabric glove making and paper manufacture.
In the case of fabric gloves a reduction of 12½ per cent. in rates of wages which had been made in April, 1923, was restored in 1928.
In the paper-making industry agreed reductions in rates of wages amounting to seven-eighths of a penny or one penny per hour for men and three-eighths of a penny for women, came into operation in August, 1930. These reductions applied to the whole of the paper-making industry irrespective of any distinction between safeguarded and non-safeguarded sections.
It is possible that apart from general changes in rates of wages or hours of labour, changes may have occurred affect- ing workpeople employed by individual firms. Moreover, actual earnings may have altered as a result of changes in the state of trade and employment. Statistics as to such changes are not, however, available.