Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wages of Turf Workers.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that the rates of pay and system of payment for workers for whom Bord na Móna have announced vacancies at Turraun Peat Works, Offaly, and Lullymore Peat Works, County Kildare, are unsatisfactory having regard to the fact that some workers can earn only £1 per week and some others less, and if he will state whether such wages are in accordance with the Government's wage policy and, if not, what steps are proposed to be taken so that such workers may be paid a fair living wage.

The wage rate for unskilled workers is ¼ per hour for a 48-hour week but whenever possible workers are employed on piece rates designed to enable an average worker to earn 25 per cent. over this figure, or ? per hour. The actual wages earned depend, in the case of workers employed on a time basis, on the actual number of hours worked and in the case of workers employed on piece rates, on both attendance and capacity. If the Deputy will furnish me with details of any particular cases he may have in mind, inquiry can be made and explanation furnished.

May I point out that the reason why I tabled this question was because I furnished, together with my question, two cases in my constituency which cases, apparently, the Parliamentary Secretary has not received or else has failed to investigate? Can he say whether he has received the two cases to which I have referred?

I have received a reference to two numbers. It is not the practice, in replying to parliamentary questions, to give particulars in individual cases. If the Deputy wants particulars, I can furnish them privately.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary deny that, despite large and very comprehensive notices which appeared in all the newspapers inviting persons to work with Bord na Móna on this task work, the most some of those workers can earn is £1 1s. 3d. per week? Does he consider that this is in accordance with the Government's wage policy?

I have informed the Deputy that it is possible to earn ¼ per hour for a 48-hour week—and 25 per cent. above that, where workers are employed on piece work.