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Engravers (Wages)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that, in considering wage awards to inside engravers on the basis of individual merit, the Admiralty Wages Board have decided that no merit rate shall exceed 405. above the standard minimum rate; and if he will take steps to remove this handicap to ability and effort.

The standard rate of wages of these men is determined in accordance with the agreed practice in the printing trade in the London district from which the hydrographic supplies department was transferred to Taunton during the war. I do not consider that a range of individual merit rates up to 40s. above this standard can reasonably be regarded as a handicap to ability and effort.

Is my hon. Friend aware that chart engravers can obtain employment only with the Admiralty and that the merit restriction is unfair to them as they are left without a choice in the matter? Is he also aware that it is utterly contrary to the declared policy of this Government to fix a ceiling on wages, and will he have another look at the matter?

Whether it is considered to be sufficient or not, I take the view that it is so, but this matter can be raised through the appropriate channels, namely, through the Shipbuilding Trades Joint Council. If the Engravers' Association so desire, they can communicate with that council for it to receive further consideration.