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Output (Workers' Limitation)

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 12 May 1943

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asked the Minister of Aircraft Production in how many factories there has been a deliberate limitation of output, and a refusal to do overtime, on account of dissatisfaction regarding piece-time rates or for other reasons; whether he will give an estimate of the effect this action will have on the supply of aircraft to our Forces and the armies of our Russian Allies; and what steps he is taking in the matter?

Arising out of the recent award in the engineering trade, there have been a number of cases in which action such as that mentioned in the hon. and gallant Member's Question has been taken by the workers without the authority of their union. None of these were, however, in aircraft factories, though in some cases sub-contracts were being executed for aircraft or air engine contractors. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, with whom I have been in close touch on the matter, has taken the view, with which I am in complete agreement, that this is primarily a matter for the executives of the trade unions concerned. In the majority of cases the difficulties have been now resolved; in the rest the matter is being dealt with by the trade union executives. It is not possible to form any exact estimate of the effect of this action upon the output of aircraft, but any such action must, of course, interfere with our war production and is therefore to be deplored.