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Directed Women Workers

Volume 393: debated on Thursday 4 November 1943

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asked the Minister of Labour why Miss Elizabeth McDonald, 404, Mathieson Street, Glasgow, was transferred to Wolverhampton on 1st September, where, for three days the firm could find no employment for her, afterwards she was told she could bring her own knitting or write letters; that the National Service officer refused her an interview without an appointment; that for three days employment she received the sum of £1 5s. 9d., less cost of lodgings; that her total wage for a full week was £2 11s. 6d., from which she had to pay tax of about 13s. and omnibus fares of 5s.; and whether he will see that girls are not transferred from Glasgow to places where there is no work?

Miss McDonald was one of too women transferred from a factory in Scotland to a firm in Wolverhampton during the first week of September. There was some temporary difficulty at the factory over the settling in of the large number of new workers who arrived during that week. A group of six workers, of which Miss McDonald was one, were told that the job for which they were actually wanted was not quite ready, and that they would be given other work for the time being. My inquiries do not support the statement that Miss McDonald was told to bring her own knitting or that she could write letters. Trained workers in this factory are fully employed and work long hours, and I am informed that the other women who were transferred at the same time as Miss McDonald are now settled in their new jobs. For the week ending 5th September Miss McDonald received £1 5s. 7d. for 21 hours attendance. During the next week she received £2 12s. 6d. for 45¾ hours' attendance. I have no information about Income Tax payments which she may have had to meet. No tax deductions were made by the firm from her pay packets. During the first week the daily cost of a workman's return ticket from her billet to the factory was 2d. She was subsequently billeted further away, and the return daily fare was 5d. There is no record at the exchange of Miss McDonald having been told that she must make an appointment before she could see the National Service officer, but I cannot see anything unreasonable in this.

Cannot my hon. Friend see that when girls are transferred such long distances from their homes they are not told when they get there that, for some technical reason, work is not to be found for them?

We do that when we can, but my hon. Friend, who has long industrial experience, will understand the difficulty. I am bound to admit that things are not absolutely perfect in all cases, but we do our best when such cases arise.


asked the Minister of Labour how many of the women, 46 to 50 years of age, recently registered have been directed to war work; and whether; he will state its nature?

No directions have so far been issued to women of these age classes as a result of their registration, but hon. Members may be interested to know that since the registrations were announced over 10,000 women in these age classes, not already in industry, have entered full-time paid employment. The numbers who have entered part-time employment are not yet known.