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Materials (Supplies)

Volume 344: debated on Wednesday 1 March 1939

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22.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that skilled engineers have recently been discharged by a large aircraft firm who are engaged on important Government contracts; that others are on notice; that production of a very successful machine is held up through a shortage of material; and what steps is it intended to take to remedy this state of affairs?

I am unable to identify the firm referred to, but if the hon. Gentleman will be good enough to give me further particulars I will look into the matter and communicate with him.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I hold in my hand a letter from the works committee of the Fairey Aviation Company, Stockport, in which they inform me that within the last three weeks 40 fitters have been paid off as a result of lack of raw material, and that more are to follow?

I shall be glad to have that letter if the hon. Member will give it to me.

Will the Secretary of State recommend to aircraft firms that they should apply Clause 12 of the national agreement, which states that when depression in trade takes place systematic short time should be worked rather than that men should be discharged?

I have no reason to think that there is any depression in the aircraft industry at this time.

Is the Minister aware that in the case of several firms near Manchester certain departments are working overtime, day and night, while other departments are standing idle waiting for material?

That may be so. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will give me particulars of the cases.