Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Agricultural Wage Rates.

35.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware that the Agricultural Wages Board by order, effective from 3rd January, 1949, prescribed a time rate for a 50 hour week (and an overtime rate for time worked after 50 hours) for agricultural workers throughout the State, while the then prevailing conditions of employment outside County Dublin and adjoining areas provided for a 54 hour week; and if, in view of this precedent, which the Board thought was proper, he will state if the Board has power to prescribe a minimum rate for a 45 hour week (together with an overtime rate after 45 hours' work) in areas where a 45 hour week is not found to be prevalent at present in contracts between agricultural employers and agricultural workers.

I am aware of the Order referred to. It is not part of my functions to express an opinion as to the conditions of employment then prevailing.

I am advised that it is not open to the Board to prescribe a minimum rate of wages on the lines suggested in the latter part of the question.