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Marine Engineers (Wages)

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 18 March 1943

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asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the basic rate of pay of marine engineers is 11¾d. per hour, raised by various bonuses to 1s. 8 13/16d. per hour for a 47-hour week; that wages have been reduced by the loss of Sunday work and overtime; that negotiations on the men's demands for an increased wage have been going on since September; and whether he will use his powers to consolidate wages, doing away with the bonus system and to grant the men a larger increase than has so far been agreed to by their employers?

No, Sir. I cannot accept my hon. Friend's suggestion. The question whether there should be any modification of agreed rates of wages is a matter for negotiation between the two sides, through the recognised machinery of the industry.

Is the Minister not aware that these negotiations have been going on officially since 5th November? My union have asked the Minister of Labour to intervene. Will he use his influence to have this matter settled as early as possible?

It is not correct to say that my hon. Friend's union have asked me to intervene. What they have done is to ask my hon. Friend not to intervene.

Probably the Minister is right as regards the executive of my union, but members of my union all over the country are asking me to intervene.

Is it not the case that the Minister has continually encouraged trade unionists to pay a political levy so that they could get their trade union activity supplemented by Parliamentary activity? Will he not encourage such supplementary Parliamentary activity?

Yes, Sir, but I have also encouraged trade unionists to do politically things which it is wise to do politically and industrially things which are more properly done through industry.

I will raise this matter again on the Adjournment. I have been here for 20 years and a member of my union for many years.