(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour whether, owing to the acute state of unrest which exists at Kew amongst ex-service civil servants, he can give the House any further information as to the inquiries which he has made, and thus avert further trouble; and if he is satisfied that all temporary women still retained are genuine hardship cases.
The discharges— both of men and women—which have been effected at the Kew office have been made because of a falling off in the volume of work to be done. In making the discharges, the possibility of retaining as many ex-service men as possible has been kept in mind, and arrangements have been made for all the temporary clerical work to be performed by ex-service men and not by women. No temporary women are retained except those engaged on routine and semi-manipulative work which, in accordance with the Lytton Report and the practice throughout the Government Service and in business houses, is more appropriately performed by women. A searching examination was made some time ago into the family circumstances of every temporary woman employed at Kew, and I am satisfied that all the women now retained were at that date entirely dependent on their earnings, and in many cases had others dependent on them. I have, however, arranged for a further investigation of a similar nature to be made immediately, and if it can be shown that any of the women now retained are not entirely dependent on their earnings at Kew, their services will be dispensed with. The Joint Substitution Board has full particulars of all the ex-service men who have been discharged from Kew, and will make every possible effort to find them posts in other Government Departments.