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Thursday, 22 August 1912

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - In the Harness Factory the eight hours system is observed ; the minimum wage paid is per week ; the employes have fourteen days' leave annually on full pay, are paid for all overtime at trade union rates, and are given and paid for all public holidays. With regard to the Clothing Factory, the rates paid represent a considerable percentage above the Wages Board rates for similar labour ; the hands are paid for the same holidays as are the hands in the Harness Factory. In both factories, they are provided with a comfortable luncheon-room, and in the case of the Clothing F'actory we provide the employes with tea, sugar, and milk.

Senator McDougall - And still turn out work under contract prices.

Senator PEARCE - That is so.

Senator Chataway - What is the cost of production ?

Senator PEARCE - I have just said that I am having the balance-sheets audited by the Auditor-General.

Senator Chataway - What is the good of the argument, if we do not know the cost of production?

Senator PEARCE - The figures have been compared with the lowest contract prices for each article produced, and the factory prices are shown to be below the contract prices. We are paying higher wages than are paid by private firms ; we give the hands in the factories better conditions, and pay them for all holidays, and we are getting better service from the workers as well as better articles.

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