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Laundry Workers (Shortage)

Volume 413: debated on Thursday 23 August 1945

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asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been called to the shortage of women laundry workers throughout the country; and what steps he proposes to take to make available suitable labour to under-staffed laundries who can no longer meet the normal demands of the public?


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the acute labour shortage for laundry work all over the country; that this shortage is felt particularly acutely in the Brighton district; that the laundries in that district feel unable even to cope with the work sent from hospitals, service personnel and schools, quite apart from normal civilian requirements; and whether he can hold out any hope of an improvement in the position.

I am aware that there is a shortage of women laundry workers, and that it is particularly acute in certain areas. The vacancies carry a high degree of preference and considerable numbers have been filled. I hope that the present shortage will be substantially alleviated as a result of the accelerated releases from munition work and from His Majesty's Forces following the Japanese surrender and also by the steps that are being taken by my Department to secure the release wherever possible of ex-laundry workers at present employed in other industries.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the long delays at present experienced in the return of laundry are accentuating the shortage of clothing throughout the country, and in view of its implications, will he make this subject a number one priority?

Will the right hon. Gentleman also endeavour, by means of some form of public announcement or propaganda, to get more people to take an interest in taking up laundry work?

That point would be better dealt with by the employers in the laundry industry studying the wages and conditions of the workers.