17 SEPTEMBER 1921, Page 3

A case heard by the Portsmouth magistrates on Tuesday illustrated

the harm that is being done by some of the Trade Boards under the Ministry of Labour, in fixing wages for the whole country irrespective of varying local conditions. The Dressmaking and Women's Light Clothing Trades Board sum- moned some Portsmouth drapers for paying their women employees 8d. an hour when the national rate arbitrarily fixed by the Board was 10/d. an hour. The women were perfectly satisfied with the lower wage. As one of them said in court, they would rather have "continuous employment at the lower wage than casual employment at the higher wage." They had voluntarily petitioned. the Trade Board to leave them alone. In the end the magistrates dismissed the case and said that the Department had been ill-advised to prosecute, in view of the bad state of trade in Portsmouth.