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Mobile Women Mineworkers (Directed Employment)

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 22 April 1943

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6.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has now concluded his inquiries into the cases of the three sisters Gilbody, ages 24, 22 and 19, respectively, 15, Slackey Fold, Hindley Green, Wigan, employed at the pithead, Gibfield Colliery, who have been advised by the local employment exchange officials that they may have to leave their present employment for other work a distance away from home; and, if so, with what results?

7.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that female screen hands at the Manchester colleries, Atherton and Astley, have been told they must give up their work at the collieries and take up other employment; that if this is carried out it will mean a shortage of labour at the collieries; and will he have inquiries made and make a statement on the position?

I recognise, of course, the importance of the work of screening coal, but there are in this area immobile women with previous experience who can be engaged for this work, and in these circumstances I am not justified in allowing mobile women, who are urgently required elsewhere, to be retained on it. I understand that the three young women in question have applied for postponement on hardship grounds. These applications will be considered under the usual procedure.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that people employed in the mining industry in any area will be totally unable to understand the emphasis put upon the requirements for coal and then taking these three girls, who are working near their own home, and putting them to work eight or ten miles away from their home?

I must fill the preferences in accordance with the war needs. Where there are mobile women I have to transfer them to where the need is most urgent.

If persons are sent to another job where wages are less than those they have received at the work which they have to leave, what power has the right hon. Gentleman to readjust the position?

I am afraid my hon. Friend voted for the Bill in this House saying that I had to apply the rates to the job.

I know I voted for the Bill, and I have voted for a lot of things during the war, but we have to try and make things as good as we can while the war is in progress.