§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
To ask the hon. Member for Chorley, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether, seeing that an increase of 2s. a week was given on 8th April, 1899, to all men of the general staff of the House of Commons with less than 30s. a week wages and that the mechanics have had no advance during the last forty years, and that on the 25th March, 1903, the Office of Works Board promised to consider the question of the hours of duty and increased pay, in response to a petition of stokers and enginemen, he will now say what decision, if any, has been arrived at.
(Answered by Lord Balcarres.) The object kept in view is to approximate the pay to that given in outside employment. That of the stokers was advanced last April, and cases calling for attention will be brought under review yearly. No mechanic possessing a trade knowledge is paid less than 30s. a week, and the rates paid for unskilled labour are equal to those current outside. The hours of duty have been reduced so far as possible in recent years. It must be remembered, in considering the question of hours, that service in the Houses of Parliament carries advantages as to sick pay and holidays and continuity of employment, which are not found in the ordinary labour market.