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War Economy

Tighter Arrangements for Ship Repair Work

Tighter Arrangements for Ship Repair Work

During 1942 the Shipbuilding and Repairs Committee had asked the Price Tribunal to fix standard rates for ship repair work, so as to avoid confusion in charging out labour and materials under cost-plus arrangements.1 From January 1943 the Price Tribunal fixed schedule rates, and by 1944 most work was being charged at these rates. The schedule rates covered award wages and cost of living bonuses. Overhead was assessed as a fixed percentage of productive wages, with the result that there were excessive overhead recoveries where overtime was worked.2 On occasions firms charged for apprentices at the full schedule rates, but in general the standard of charging improved.

To reduce discrepancies in quantities charged, a Ship Repairs Costing Service was set up in January 1944 and became responsible for examining and certifying ship repair claims payable by the Government.

1 See also p. 347.

2 The customary engineering practice was to charge packed hours for overtime, which meant that an overtime payment for, say, 4 hours’ work at 1 ½ times ordinary time rate was entered in the books as 6 hours at ordinary time rate. The payment to the worker was the same, but all 6 hours ranked for overhead and profit allowances. See also p. 360 for an example of the effect of this practice.