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TITLE
West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co. - employment contract, 1956
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_DAVIDBANKS_113
DATE OF IMAGE
1956
PERIOD
1950s
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
1442
KEYWORDS
fishing industry
commercial fishing
salmon fishing
trout fishing
net fishing
West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co. - employment contract, 1956

This document was the standard contract which James Banks of West Highland Salmon Fisheries used for all his employees. It outlines the dates of employment, wages, duties and responsibilities of the employee as well as the fishing station they would work from. There is provision in the contract for the employee to reside at 'bothy accommodation' at the station. In some areas this was not required as the salmon stations were near the fishermen's homes. Although not mentioned in the contract, oilskins and boots were provided.

The weekly wage for each employee was noted and written in long form. The standard wage, as shown in this contract for this 1956 season, was £6 15s per week. Generally, the foreman or the engine hand would get a higher amount - at this time, it was £7 per week.

The contract included notice of a bonus to each of the employees. This was based on the number of fish caught at each station. The bonus was first suggested in 1956 after a run of bad years. Banks based the idea on a scheme that was running on the east coast where a bonus was paid based on the number of fish caught at each station. The bonus paid to each fisherman would be £1 per hundred fish caught and was paid out at the end of the season if the contract agreement was fulfilled. Banks told each of his employees of this bonus proposal in his letters to them before the start of the 1956 season.

He makes reference in his correspondence that this bonus will 'not affect in any way the payment of the usual bonus which we give in the event of an extra good year'. The extra good year was 1951 which appears from available records to have been the best year ever. Catch records for 1951 show 1,528 fish were caught at Staffin; 1,587 at Portree; 1,114 at Raasay; and 2,997 at Lealt. Had this bonus scheme been in place, some of the fishermen would have received as much as £29 each, equivalent of several weeks' wages.

In comparison, for the 1956 season when the bonus scheme was introduced, the catch records were: 692 fish caught at Staffin; 507 at Portree; 457 at Raasay and 836 at Lealt. Despite being considerably lower than 1951, each of the fishermen would still have received a bonus between £5 and £8. This was close to a weeks' wages and a significant amount of money at that time.


West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd
In 1944 James Banks & Sons, Perth bought the sea salmon fishing lease for the Kilmuir Estates, Skye from A Powrie & Co, and formed the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd to operate the lease. The company continued until 1962 when it was sold to Kenneth Matheson, Portree.

When Banks and Sons took over the lease there were fishing stations at Lealt, Rigg (Borreraig), Staffin, Portree, Camustianavaig, Balmeanach and Brochel Castle (on Raasay). In 1956, Balmeanach and Camustianavaig merged to become the Braes station, with three men employed, while the others usually had four-man crews. The company employed about 28 men each year with jobs being offered to the same men each season before new workers were hired.

The season began late April/early May and ran through to the end of August. Several men were also employed during the winter months to take ice down from the dam at Sluggans for storage at the ice house at Portree harbour. Each crew member would receive a contract with information on wages, proposed bonus scheme and work hours and were provided with oilskins and rubber boots.

The catch was divided into salmon, grilse and trout, with grilse numbers being the highest. The total annual catch was approximately 3000 fish in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A record high of nearly 10,000 fish were caught in 1957.


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West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co. - employment contract, 1956

1950s

fishing industry; commercial fishing; salmon fishing; trout fishing; net fishing

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David Banks: West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd (documents)

This document was the standard contract which James Banks of West Highland Salmon Fisheries used for all his employees. It outlines the dates of employment, wages, duties and responsibilities of the employee as well as the fishing station they would work from. There is provision in the contract for the employee to reside at 'bothy accommodation' at the station. In some areas this was not required as the salmon stations were near the fishermen's homes. Although not mentioned in the contract, oilskins and boots were provided.<br /> <br /> The weekly wage for each employee was noted and written in long form. The standard wage, as shown in this contract for this 1956 season, was £6 15s per week. Generally, the foreman or the engine hand would get a higher amount - at this time, it was £7 per week.<br /> <br /> The contract included notice of a bonus to each of the employees. This was based on the number of fish caught at each station. The bonus was first suggested in 1956 after a run of bad years. Banks based the idea on a scheme that was running on the east coast where a bonus was paid based on the number of fish caught at each station. The bonus paid to each fisherman would be £1 per hundred fish caught and was paid out at the end of the season if the contract agreement was fulfilled. Banks told each of his employees of this bonus proposal in his letters to them before the start of the 1956 season. <br /> <br /> He makes reference in his correspondence that this bonus will 'not affect in any way the payment of the usual bonus which we give in the event of an extra good year'. The extra good year was 1951 which appears from available records to have been the best year ever. Catch records for 1951 show 1,528 fish were caught at Staffin; 1,587 at Portree; 1,114 at Raasay; and 2,997 at Lealt. Had this bonus scheme been in place, some of the fishermen would have received as much as £29 each, equivalent of several weeks' wages. <br /> <br /> In comparison, for the 1956 season when the bonus scheme was introduced, the catch records were: 692 fish caught at Staffin; 507 at Portree; 457 at Raasay and 836 at Lealt. Despite being considerably lower than 1951, each of the fishermen would still have received a bonus between £5 and £8. This was close to a weeks' wages and a significant amount of money at that time.<br /> <br /> <br /> <b>West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd</b><br /> In 1944 James Banks & Sons, Perth bought the sea salmon fishing lease for the Kilmuir Estates, Skye from A Powrie & Co, and formed the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd to operate the lease. The company continued until 1962 when it was sold to Kenneth Matheson, Portree. <br /> <br /> When Banks and Sons took over the lease there were fishing stations at Lealt, Rigg (Borreraig), Staffin, Portree, Camustianavaig, Balmeanach and Brochel Castle (on Raasay). In 1956, Balmeanach and Camustianavaig merged to become the Braes station, with three men employed, while the others usually had four-man crews. The company employed about 28 men each year with jobs being offered to the same men each season before new workers were hired. <br /> <br /> The season began late April/early May and ran through to the end of August. Several men were also employed during the winter months to take ice down from the dam at Sluggans for storage at the ice house at Portree harbour. Each crew member would receive a contract with information on wages, proposed bonus scheme and work hours and were provided with oilskins and rubber boots. <br /> <br /> The catch was divided into salmon, grilse and trout, with grilse numbers being the highest. The total annual catch was approximately 3000 fish in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A record high of nearly 10,000 fish were caught in 1957. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image may be available to purchase.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com ">Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>