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Flying Instructors

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 25 April 1951

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asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will determine the minimum amount to be paid to flying instructors at Reserve flying schools.

No, Sir. Flying instructors at Reserve flying schools are employees of private firms working under contract to the Air Ministry and the terms under which they serve is a matter for settlement between employer and employee.

Does not the Under-Secretary of State realise that these contracts go out to tender, and would it not be perfectly easy for his contracts departments to lay down a minimum rate of pay? Does he not realise that these men are receiving little more money than they were receiving before the war, and that by side-tracking the matter he is doing them an injustice?

I think the hon. and gallant Member has been misled in the whole matter. It was really to prevent any Government Department having to determine what are or are not fair wages that the fair wages clause was introduced by the Coalition Government. We are carrying out the policy that clause recommended and we are sticking to it because we are sure that it is only proper to do so.

I shall ask the pilots' unions to press their case as hard as possible to get justice.

Is my hon. Friend not aware that it is a job for the trade unions concerned and that the air pilots have very efficient trade unions for the purpose of settling these grievances?


asked the Secretary of State for Air how many officers of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve have volunteered to serve as flying instructors for a maximum period of 18 months.

So far 77 officers and nine N.C.O.s have indicated their willingness to serve as flying instructors.

Am I to understand that the number circulated is 200? How does the Minister propose to get the remainder? Will he offer further inducements to obtain the other 120?

We approached 300 people to start with and out of these 86 responded. We are now approaching the others. We hope we shall get them all as willing volunteers.

Can the Minister assure us that officers who have done some Reserve training will be recalled in a rank which will ensure that they are not penalised for having done this training as compared with officers retired with the same rank, who have done no training?

Does the Minister not think that it is the present rates of pay which are precluding a larger number of men volunteering for the job?

On the contrary, I believe that the civil firms are finding it very difficult to get instructors because the R.A.F. rates of pay are proving more attractive.