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Farm Workers, Miners And Dockers

Volume 415: debated on Thursday 8 November 1945

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asked the Minister of Labour how many men are employed in agriculture today as compared with 1939; what are the guaranteed weekly wages of farm workers, miners and dockers today; and what were they in 1939.

The number of regular male workers recorded in the June agricultural returns for Great Britain was 546,300 for 1939 and 521,000 for 1945. The regular labour force is at present supplemented by other sources of labour such as the Women's Land Army and prisoners of war.The present minimum rate of wages for men employed in agriculture is 70s. per week. For dock labourers at most of the ports the rate is 16s. a day and in coalmining the minimum rates are 100s. for underground workers and 90s. for surface workers. Dock labourers have a guaranteed payment of five and a half days a week in some ports and of 6s. per half day attendance money at others. In coalmining there is a guaranteed payment of day wage rates under the Essential Work Order to men available for work. At September, 1939, the minimum rates in agriculture ranged in different districts from 31s. to 38s. 6d. and the usual rate for dock labourers was 13s. a day. There was no general minimum rate for coalmining, but the rates for labourers ranged in different districts from 6s. 7½d. to 11s. 4d. a shift.