Dear Mr. Bruce,
From time to time I have received from you the kindest and most encouraging of letters and I rather hesitate to worry you about my personal affairs. It is now, however, more than three years since I started on work connected with Empire and Preference and, as I am now receiving considerably less remuneration than three years ago, I feel that you will not object to my asking you to consider the existing situation.
Before doing so, I want you clearly to realise that I have and do enjoy the job and especially appreciate being able to do the work under you.
From December 1922 to May 1924 I was working in London as the Australian Fruit Delegation on a daily allowance of 5.5.0 per diem (1916 per annum). On my coming to Melbourne in June 1924, my remuneration dropt to 3.3.0 per diem. I then returned to London in January 1925 and drew 5.5.0 per diem until April 23rd, when my remuneration was changed to 750 per annum from the Dried Fruit Board and 500 per annum from the Government. I cabled to you that I could not do effective work without an allowance of 500 a year and after some considerable delay, I was informed that an allowance of 150 from the Dried Fruit Board and 100 from the Government would be allowed. So I now draw 1250 salary and 250 allowance.
I should like to point out that on my three voyages, totalling roughly 15 weeks, I only received 2.2.0 per diem. So far as my allowance is concerned, my expenses on entertaining Members, Editors, journalists, etc. cost me rather more than my allowance and you will realise that working in London and meeting everyone one cannot practise rigid economy. I do not think my cable about allowance was in the least exaggerated.
Now as to the work I am doing. I need not discuss its nature. The Dried Fruit work would occupy much more than half of the time of a man who worked ordinary office hours. As it is I devote less than half my time to the direct work of the Board, although a very great deal of my other work is of direct value to dried fruits.
Normally I find it necessary to work every evening until late in order to keep abreast of the work entailed by the imperial Economic Committee, keeping in touch with Members etc. and on quiet methods of propaganda. I don't want to pile it on but, to put it briefly, I work hard! and enjoy doing so! On the other hand I have no security so far as remuneration goes and have not felt free to buy a house or take on a reasonable lease. This fact naturally does not decrease expenses. I recognise that any security of tenure may be difficult to arrange at the present time, but that being so, I feel that one should receive a rather more generous scale of pay than is given to those whose
posts are secure. It seems to me that a salary of say 2000 a year to a civil servant is at least equivalent to 3000 paid to a man who has no security of tenure and no pension or superannuation arrangements.
From a purely personal point of view, I should never raise this question of remuneration with you, but having a small family I am bound to put the case clearly before you. From your last letter I gather that you anticipate a move in producers' organizations which will create the type of place in which I can work to the best effect for Australia in London. I hope that this will be the case in the near future but I feel that it is reasonable to ask that my present scale should be reviewed. I don't want to have to turn away from this work in order to establish my family in a securer position but at present I could accuse myself of failure fully to look to their interests.
It may interest you to know that the New Zealand Meat Board pay Mr. Forsyth , their London Manager, over 2,500 plus expenses, the Australian Dairy Board have already appointed two members of their London Agency at 2,000 each plus expenses, the New Zealand Dairy Board are advertising for a Manager at 3,000 income tax paid.
Under these circumstances I cannot but feel that while I am almost certainly doing a larger amount of work than any of the men I have just mentioned and that my work is, in some ways, of especial importance, my remuneration is quite out of keeping with that of others.
Frankly I hate writing to you on this subject but I'm sure you will feel that I am fully justified in doing so.
Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL