To ask the Minister for Defence what are the rates of pay and dependents' allowances of men in the Railway Repairs Protection and Maintenance Corps; whether they are being paid for Sundays, and whether they get a rail pass home when on leave.

The Railway Protection Repair and Maintenance Corps is divided into two classes—A and B. Class A is mainly composed of Railway men who, owing to the dislocation of the Railways, were thrown out of employment. They are paid the nominal railway rates of wages for six days of the week, but allowances are not paid to their dependents. Class B consists of soldiers in receipt of ordinary Army rates of pay. Allowances are paid to their dependents at the rates set out in my reply to a question on the 12th ultimo.

Railway passes are issued to officers and men proceeding home on leave, provided that not more than one such pass is granted to an officer or man in any six months.

I understand that men in Class A work on Sundays the same as other days of the week, and I would like to know the reason for not paying them for that day also.

There is no reason. It was a convention adopted. The Railway men when first taken on to form the nucleus of this Maintenance Corps, were taken on because they had no employment. They were in receipt of no grant of any kind from any Association and the Government made use of them to form a nucleus and build up their Railway Protection Maintenance Corps. They were taken on to perform what was ordinary soldier's work which covers the full seven days of the week, and we undertook to pay them the rates which the Railway Companies were paying at that particular time.