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Jute Industry Dispute (Dundee)

Volume 161: debated on Wednesday 14 March 1923

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asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that there is a strike amongst women jute workers in Dundee due to the introduction of an improvement in machinery which is to displace one in every three workers concerned, thus adding to the unemployed; and whether such persons will be eligible for the unemployment benefit?

I am aware of the dispute. Claims to benefit made by the spinners concerned have been disallowed by the Insurance Officer on the ground of the trade dispute disqualification laid down in Section 8 (1) of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920. It is open to the claimants to appeal to the Court of Referees if they wish to do so. Claims to benefit made by other classes of workers affected are still under consideration.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the fact that we have a contribution towards relieving unemployment, decided on after discussion in this House; and can he state what are we prepared to do in a case like that to which I have drawn attention, a case which is not due to any economic conditions but simply to an improvement in machinery? Since we do not apply intelligence to production, how can we expect anything else, but that improvements in machinery will produce un-employment.