asked the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that carters employed by the Department of Defence at the Curragh Camp were notified on the 19th May, 1933, that their rate of pay would be reduced from 12/- per day to 9/- per day; whether he will state the grounds upon which the reduction of 25 per cent. of wages has been made, and whether he will issue instructions to restore the former rate of wages.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rate of Pay of Curragh Carters.
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The wages of the carters have been brought into conformity with the rates of wages being paid by the local authorities for similar work in the same district. I regret that I cannot accede to the Deputy's suggestions to restore the former rate of wages.
Arising out of the Minister's reply, I want to know does the Minister think it is a fair proceeding to serve only one week's notice on these carters reducing their wage by 16/6 a week without taking any steps to discuss the matter with the trade union concerned?
I heard nothing about a trade union being concerned in this matter.
The Minister has stated that he heard nothing about a trade union in this matter. The trade union catering for these men wrote to the Minister for Defence on 25th of May protesting against these cuts and asking for a suspension of the cuts pending a conference. If the Minister states that he does not know anything of that matter I want to state that the Private Secretary to the Minister wrote acknowledging that letter, refusing to suspend the cut or to agree to a conference.
I did not say that. What I said was that I was not aware that these men were in a trade union.
In view of the fact that the Minister is now aware that these men are in a trade union and that a reduction of 16/6 has taken place in their weekly wages, with only one week's notice, it should surely commend itself to the Minister that this is a substantial cut. Would he now be willing to discuss the matter with the union concerned and modify this outrageous cut in their weekly wage?
As far as I am concerned I think 9/- a day to carters in the present circumstances of the country is a fair rate of remuneration, and if the Deputy can give me the names of a couple of hundred thousand people who want horses and carts and are prepared to pay 9/- a day I will guarantee to get them.
May I say that this is the same kind of mentality that has justified the wage paid on the Shannon Scheme and has justified the wage of 24/- a week for workers on relief schemes.
I suggest that 9/- a day in the present circumstances of the country is not a bad wage to pay to carters in this country. I am not giving this money out of my own pocket. The money is the money of the taxpayers of the country. It is they supply the wages. There are lots of people who own horses and carts themselves who are supplying the tax which pays this wage and I am sure they think that 9/- a day is decent remuneration for a carter.
Is the Minister not prepared to extend to these carters the same rate of wages as that paid by the last Government, or will he tell us why he wants to deduct 16/6 a week from their wages?
These carters are being given the rate paid by the local authority in the County Kildare.