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Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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asked the Minister of Labour how many unemployed ex-miners are registered in each coalfield; and how many of them have been offered to the National Coal Board for employment in the mines.

It is not possible to identify amongst the unemployed those who have at one time or another worked in the coalmining industry. It is known, however, that a large majority of ex-miners are now unfit for underground employment in the industry. No figures are available of the numbers who have been offered to the National Coal Board for employment.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied with the present arrangements for absorbing these men into the mining industry?

I admit frankly that I am not satisfied with the arrangements for their absorption at the moment, but those arrangements are being rapidly dealt with, and the difficulties overcome, and we are satisfied that shortly we shall be able able to place every man who offers himself.

Trade Unions Dispute (Inquiry)


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will place before the House the Minutes of the Court of Inquiry set up under the Industrial Courts Act, 1919, which was held under the chairmanship of Sir Charles Doughty, K.C., between 11th and 14th March, 1947, in respect of the dispute between the Amalgamated Society of Wire Drawers and Kindred Workers and the Transport and General Workers' Union.

No, Sir. The Court of Inquiry sat in private, and it would be contrary to usual practice to publish the Minutes. The Report of the Court, which has been published as a White Paper (Cmd. 7079), includes a summary of the evidence given.

Electrical Trades Union (Claims)


asked the Minister of Labour what action he proposes to take on the representations which have been made to him by the E.T.U. regarding their claims insofar as they relate to the electrical contracting industry.

The terms and conditions of employment in the electrical contracting industry are a matter for settlement by the constitutional machinery of the industry. The services of my Department have been offered to the parties to facilitate joint discussion.

Is there not some dissatisfaction at the delays which have taken place in regard to these negotiations?

I think one side or the other is often dissatisfied at delay, but, in this case, apparently, there is a real difference of opinion between the parties. They are making an effort to solve it themselves. We have offered assistance, but we still hope that they will be able to settle it themselves.

Collective Agreements (List)


asked the Minister of Labour when he will publish an up-to-date list of collective agreements provided for sliding scales based on movements of the cost-of-living index similar to that published in the June, 1944, issue of the "Ministry of Labour Gazette."

I am arranging for a list of the industries in which cost of living sliding scales are in operation to be included in the April issue of the "Ministry of Labour Gazette."

House Building Trainees, Scotland


asked the Minister of Labour how many ex-Servicemen have been trained for house building trades at the Labour Training Centre at Granton in Scotland; and how many have been absorbed into the building industry or ancillary trades.

Four hundred and ninety-nine ex-Servicemen have been trained for the building trades at the Granton Centre, and 265 have been placed in employment. Action to place the remainder is in hand.

Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the case of 30 trainees at this establishment at Granton who, after a course of training, could not find a job at all? Is there not a shortage of manpower for house building?

My attention has not been drawn especially to that case, and if the hon. and gallant Gentleman will give me particulars, I will look into it. Very often the problem is that labour is available but not required in that immediate area at the moment, but if we move it away, we find the men have to be brought back. The training covers all the industries, and, therefore, while we may be placing work for builders and carpenters, painters and plasterers have to wait a little time before we place them.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what sort of period elapses on the average before the men are absorbed in the way he has described?

I will admit that what I am saying is plainly a guess, but, as a rule, the men are placed in employment very quickly after they come out of the training centres.

Can the Minister give an assurance that when ex-Servicemen have completed training at labour centres, they are accepted into the appropriate trade union without any reservation?

I would like to answer that by putting it the other way round, and to say that, if the hon. Member has any instance where it has not happened, I will be glad to look into it. My information is that they are welcomed in before they leave the training centres.