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Repairs (Ex-Servicemen, Employment)

Volume 414: debated on Thursday 25 October 1945

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asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that owners of house property, who carry out the repairs of their property by employing men for the purpose, are being prevented by Labour Exchanges from re-employing their former skilled workmen discharged from the Forces who have a statutory right to such employment; and if he will issue instructions to change this practice.

No, Sir. The only circumstances in which this would arise would be where a man was discharged before the end of the war in Europe and is now engaged on urgent and essential work on which his retention is necessary to avoid grave dislocation. In these circumstances, any reinstatement rights he may have with his old employer would be preserved. I should be glad to look into any case which the hon. and Noble Member may have in mind.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I know of a case where a man is about to be discharged, and has informed the exchange that he is going to be discharged? He wishes to return to his own employment, and he has been informed that he cannot do so, as it is the policy of the Ministry of Labour to send such men for employment with public authorities and not private employers.

Will the hon. Gentleman issue instructions to the exchanges in the terms of his reply?

I hope that the publicity that will be given to this reply will have the effect desired.

Will the hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. Friend to see that similar instructions are issued regarding applications for releases under Class B, because a number of cases have been brought to our attention in which employers have been refused the release of men who were former employees, under Class B, unless the men are prepared to take up other work.

Applications under Class B, the block release, come from various Departments, and in this case which has been raised to-day, if the application for release under Class B comes not from the employer himself but from the Department to whom the employer has made application it is passed to the Ministry of Labour, and, in turn, to the Service concerned. The employer does not come into it except through the interested Department.

Will the hon. Gentleman look into this, because there is a serious point involved?