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Ministry Of Labour

Volume 161: debated on Friday 16 March 1923

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asked the Minister of Labour what is the total number of non-service staff, male and female, respectively, still retained in his Department; what are the reasons in each case for such retention; and whether, in view of the large number of ex-service men now unemployed and on the pool of the Joint Substitution Board, he will take steps to effect further substitution?

Particulars of the temporary staff of the Ministry (including both Headquarters and Provincial Offices and excluding industial staff employed in the Ministry's Training Factories and part-time workers) are as follow:—

Of the 27 non-service men still employed in the Ministry, six will, under present arrangements, cease to be so employed within the next month. Of the remainder, four are pre-War employés and as such exempt from substitution under the terms of the Lytton Report; one is a caretaker whose retention is necessary under the terms of the agreement under which the Department occupies the premises of which he is in charge; three are men for whom substitutes with the necessary qualifications are not at present available on the books of the Joint Substitution Board but who will be substituted if appropriate substitutes are forthcoming; one (aged 69) is retained on compassionate grounds in circumstances which I should be happy to explain to my hon. Friend; and 12 are possessed of special technical qualifications, and it is not, in my opinion, in the interests of ex-service men as a whole that they should be displaced at present. The eases of the 16 men last referred to, however, have been, and are, constantly under review, and should it appear to me at any time that circumstances justify their replacement by an ex-service man, the necessary instructions will be given.Of the 1,721 non-service temporary women employed in a temporary capacity, 352 are engaged as typists and shorthand typists and as such are not liable to substitution under the terms of the Lytton Report. The remainder are employed either:—

  • (i) on clerical work especially appropriate to women, e.g., on the women's side of the Employment Exchanges and dealing with juveniles and women applicants for training; or
  • (ii) on routine and semi-manipulative work in the Claims and Record Office, Kew.
  • The work which is allotted to the 1,721 women above referred to is work which ought properly—in accordance with the existing practice of the Civil Service, as accepted by the Whitley Council for the Civil Service, as also with that of business houses—to be performed by women officers, and I am satisfied that further substitution in connection therewith cannot properly be proceeded with.

    The family circumstances of all the temporary women retained at Kew are being examined again in order to ensure that the only women retained are those who are dependent on their earnings at that office or have others dependent on them. I may add that since 1st October, 1920, the date at which the present arrangements for "substitution" were put into operation, the number of non-service men employed in the Ministry in a temporary capacity has been reduced from 541 to 27; and the number of temporary women officers from 3,449 to 1,721.