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Food Distribution Firms {Workers)

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 20 May 1943

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asked the Minister of Labour, in view of the warning by the President of the National Union of Distributive Workers at their recent annual conference of the danger to the distribution of foodstuffs consequent upon denuding shops of skilled employees, whether he intends to take action in the matter?

I am satisfied that the arrangements recently made in agreement with my noble Friend the Minister of Food for the withdrawal of a limited number of workers from firms engaged in food distribution will not endanger the efficient distribution of essential foodstuffs.

Will my right hon. Friend be good enough to watch the statistics of sickness among shopworkers, consequent upon the heavy strain upon them these days and will he also inquire into the problem of housewives who are having grave difficulty in shopping because there are not sufficient skilled staffs left in the shops to serve them?

I have these things constantly under review, but I have to meet war circumstances.

Would my right hon. Friend consider the advisability of setting up a training school so that substitutes who are to take the places of trained assistants can obtain some little knowledge of the food trade beforehand?