§ 38. Mr. Loughlin
asked the Lord President of the Council if he will arrange for the payment of an additional bonus based upon hours worked in excess of a norm for the period January, 1971, to such period to be determined in the light of future demand made upon them, to catering staff who are working excessively long hours owing to the demands of the House.
I have been asked to reply.
All catering staff who are on duty after 10.30 p.m. are already paid at overtime rates.
§ Mr. Loughlin
Whilst appreciating that the catering staff get overtime for the very long hours they work, may I ask whether the hon. Gentleman will admit that since January of this year there have been demands far in excess of the normal made upon the catering workers—and, indeed, on other members of the staff of this House? Would it not be a good idea, and a token of appreciation on our part, if the Catering Department would consider giving the catering staff an additional bonus—it would, I think, meet with the approval of both sides of the House —for the way they have looked after us during this period, which has been abnormal?
There is nothing that I and other members of the Catering Committee would like more than to be able to do that. The only difficulty is that, in spite of the fact that we are paying up to £1,000 a week more in wages currently for these excessive weeks' working, we are unable to go further because we are still losing money—
Not at the rate we are now. Before Christmas it was a matter of hundreds a week but now it is thousands; and because of the almost bankrupt condition it is difficult to find where the money should come from. At the same time I feel sure that the whole House would like me to congratulate the staff who look after us so well, and that I will gladly do. I think a bonus for those who went right through the night and this morning is not out of place. There were not many of them, and they worked terribly hard and well.
§ Mr. Loughlin
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible date.