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Double Day-Shift Working (Report)

Volume 439: debated on Friday 4 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Labour when the Report of the Committee on Double Day-Shift Working is to be published.

The Report of this Committee, which was set up in March, 1945, is being published by His Majesty's Stationery Office today.The Government have given most earnest consideration to this Report. They agree with the view taken in the Report that, if we are to maintain and improve our standard of living without widespread increases in the working hours of individuals, there will have to be much more double day-shift working.The Government also agree with the Committee that the workers will not accept the system unless they are convinced that its social inconveniences to themselves can and will be offset as far as possible by compensating benefits. The more people there are working on the system in any area, the less the social disadvantages will tend to be; and the Government endorse the view of the Committee that every, effort should be made to adjust social and educational services to meet the needs of double day-shift workers.At present, with certain special exceptions, shift working by workers other than adult males is prohibited by the Factory Acts unless it is specially authorised by the Minister of Labour and National Service for a particular factory. It is, therefore, necessary to consider how the Factory Acts could be modified so that they do not hamper industrial planning of production on a two-shift basis, or hinder the progressive recognition of shift working as a normal arrangement. The Government are not satisfied that it is necessary to retain in full the present legal obstacles to the adoption of the double day-shift system, provided of course that adequate power is retained to ensure that proper protection is afforded for the health and welfare of persons employed on the system. The Government accordingly propose to consult the National Joint Advisory Council on this matter and also on the question of the morning and evening time limits within which the system should be made legal. The latter point is important because the economic advantages of double day-shift working are derived, in the main, from the longer hours for which plant can be worked.