Ceisteanna.—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fair Wages Clause.

asked the Minister for Finance if he will state what steps are taken by the Office of Public Works to ensure that the fair wages clause in contracts entered into by this Department with builders is observed in rural areas, and further, what steps are taken to see that competent skilled workers are employed in the execution of such contracts.

The steps taken to ensure that the fair wages clause in contracts entered into by the Office of Public Works is observed are:—

(a) An undertaking to observe this clause is required from persons or firms as a condition of inclusion on the Board's list of contractors.

(b) The clause is embodied in the form of tender, which all contractors are required to sign.

(c) Each contractor is bound by the terms of his contract to exhibit a copy of the clause on the premises where the work is being executed.

(d) Any complaint of infringement is enquired into by the Board's Officers, who are empowered to inspect all relevant books and documents, and the Fair Wages Advisory Committee is consulted.

(e) If an infringement has taken place the Board take the necessary steps to compel compliance by the contractor. They reserve to themselves in the contract the power of cancellation in the event of non-compliance.

With regard to the second part of the question, the responsibility for the employment of workmen rests in the first instance with the contractor, but the specifications provide that work must be executed in a substantial and workmanlike manner, and all works are inspected during progress and on completion to ensure that the quality of the work is in accordance with the specification. Power is reserved in the contract to insist on the dismissal of any workman on grounds of incompetency.

Mr. Murphy

Will the Parliamentary Secretary say if any complaints have been received by his office in connection with the rate of wages paid by contractors recently?

I find that one complaint was made in relation to Castletownbere after the work had been completed. That complaint has been investigated and the information is that proper tradesmen were employed on the work which was satisfactorily carried out in accordance with the plans and specifications. We received no complaint during the progress of the work that proper wages were not paid. If the names of those who are alleged not to have been proper tradesmen or to have been paid trade union rates are furnished to us we will take the matter up with the contractor. I am very anxious to get at the bottom of it and I will be glad to have any information which the Deputy will give me.