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Unregistered Dock Workers

Volume 393: debated on Thursday 4 November 1943

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asked the Minister of Labour whether he has had his attention drawn to delays in the discharge of ships due to area board managers of port registration committees being unable to employ dockers who, though available and full members of their union, are not registered with the committees; and whether, to avoid such delays, he will authorise such committees temporarily to employ such men?

Article 4 (3) of the Essential Work (Dock Labour) Order, 1943, provides that

"if the Minister is satisfied as regards a port to which an approved Dock Labour Scheme applies that
  • (a) port transport work is urgently required to be done; and
  • (b) it is not reasonably practicable to obtain port transport workers for the purpose of that work;
  • he may inform the Corporation accordingly, and in that case and for that work, the Corporation may allocate or send to a port transport employer a person who is not a port transport worker."
    The Order was made on 30th July, 1943, and, since that date, authority has been given for the employment of unregistered labour on eleven occasions, covering eight ports.

    Will my right hon. hon. Friend see that these instructions are understood by the port officers concerned, because cases of delay since that Order was issued have definitely occurred in certain ports of the country where ships are being held up for two and three days for discharge owing to lack of labour?

    I cannot allow large numbers of men to be drafted into the ports on the off-chance of doing one shift and then standing there idle. I have to keep the balance of labour requirements going all over the country.

    Is the Minister aware that in the case to which I have drawn his attention dock labour was available in the port except for the fact that the men were not registered?

    The hon. and gallant Member appears to be giving information and not asking a question.