Women Factory Inspectors (Pay) (Hansard, 5 July 1951)
HC Deb 05 July 1951 vol 489 cc2466-7
3. Miss Ward

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give an assurance that new scales of pay for factory inspectors will give women factory inspectors equal percentage increases and not lower percentage increases, as was the case in 1946, which made the women's position compared with men worse than the pre-war scale.

Mr. Robens

The claim for new scales of pay for factory inspectors is under discussion with the staff association, and I am unable to say at this stage how the new scales when settled will be found to compare with the old in terms of percentages.

Miss Ward

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that on the last occasion an award was made the gap between women's salaries and men's salaries was widened; and will he see that on this occasion women benefit equally with men? Otherwise, there will be trouble.

Mr. Robens

There would be even greater trouble if the Minister of Labour interfered with free voluntary negotiations between those employed and the employers.

Mr. Harmar Nicholls

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the strength of the factory inspectorate is 40 below establishment, while the number of factories has increased from 173,000 to 208,000? In those circumstances, ought he not to grasp every opportunity of encouraging people to join this service?

Mr. Robens

I am aware that the factory inspectorate is under strength. We, are filling the gap as rapidly as possible.

Miss Ward

On this matter, would the Minister have a word with the Treasury. who appear to be the chief offenders? Will he please bear that in mind?

Mr. Robens

The hon. Lady is asking me to do something that I would not dream of doing in free negotiation. The associations representing those employed and the employers on the Whitley Council must be left to settle their own problems. It is not for us to interfere.

Sir H. Williams

But the right hon. Gentleman is the employer.

Dr. Hill

Is the Minister not aware that, being the employer of these people, he is responsible for the instructions given to one side of the Whitley Council?

Mr. Robens

I am well aware of that fact. None the less, the Whitley Council machinery is quite adequate to deal with a problem of this kind.

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