§ Mr. CROOKS
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions whether he is aware that the Ordnance Factories' Supervisory Staff Association has been in communication with the Department for the last ten months with regard to the scale of payment of foremen and assistant foremen; that although a special investigation was promised, the association cannot get any information on the matter; whether he is also aware that the position of foremen and assistant foremen as compared with other grades of workmen has deteriorated during the War; that, for instance, an assistant foreman before the War received 12s. per week more than the piece-work engineer and now receives 5s. per week less; and whether he will have consideration of this matter expedited, or have it referred to the Arbitration and Conciliation Board for decision?
Mr. J. HOPE
I am informed that the temporary foremen and assistant foremen in question are in the main receiving pay in excess of the pre-war rates of their grades, plus the full war bonuses awarded by the appropriate arbitrating bodies and the 12½ per cent. bonus. Their claim appears to be for permanent increases of 20s. a week for foremen and 15s. for assistant foremen in addition to their present pay and bonuses, and to be based to some extent upon the present high earnings of mechanics paid by results. On completion of the special investigation, which is now taking place, into the relative position of various grades at Woolwich, I hope to be better able to judge the merits of the claim and the somewhat analogous claims made by other classes. I regret the delay, but my right hon.916W Friend will appreciate that the question is complex and presents special difficulties at the present time.