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Civilian Labour

Volume 344: debated on Wednesday 1 March 1939

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asked the Secretary of State for Air whether civilian labour at Air Ministry establishments is recruited from Government training-camps for the unemployed; whether this practice has been followed at Yatesbury; and whether steps will be taken to inform all local commands of the Ministry's policy in this respect in the interests of the young unemployed?

Civilian labour required in Air Ministry establishments is normally recruited locally through the Ministry of Labour Employment Exchanges, preference being given to ex-service men. Some vacancies may also be filled by men with suitable qualifications from Government training establishments. As Yatesbury, however, will be mainly staffed with Royal Air Force personnel, it is not anticipated that there will be vacancies for this type of men at that station. I do not think that special instructions to Royal Air Force Commands are necessary, as the position is well understood.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Prime Minister recently made an appeal to the young unemployed to come forward to fill up the gaps in the training camps and that unless provision is made for workmen to be recruited from these camps, it is very difficult to get that appeal answered?

Can the Minister do something to prevent these contractors employing Irish labour? Is he aware that these Irish workmen not only prevent local workmen from obtaining employment, but that afterwards they go into agriculture and undercut the piece rates?

I answered some questions on that point last week, and I will send my hon. and gallant Friend the replies.

Will the Minister also consider that miners have been refused for the Army on the ground that they will be of great importance in the pits in war time?