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European Volunteer Workers

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 10 May 1949

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7.

asked the Minister of Labour how many female German workers have been placed in employment in the hosiery industry; and how many more are likely to be available monthly.

One hundred and seventy-seven German women have been placed in the hosiery industry. The number available in the future depends on the numbers who will prove willing to volunteer for transfer to Great Britain, and it is not as yet possible to estimate this.

Will the Minister appreciate that this industry is 30,000 short of its pre-war female labour force and do his best to get more of these workers?

Yes, Sir. I would say, however, that the greatest help we could have in the matter would be from letters to Germany indicating the satisfaction of these German girls with their employment in this industry.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the question of hostel accommodation is a very important factor in solving this very difficult problem?

Our difficulty is not with hostels at the moment, but in getting girls.

8 and 9.

asked the Minister of Labour (1) how many European volunteer workers from Full Sutton camp have been detailed by his Department to take up certain employment; and how many have refused;

(2) how many European volunteer workers from Full Sutton camp have been placed in employment and have since returned to this camp.

From May, 1947, to the end of April, 1949, approximately 25,000 European volunteer workers were offered approved employment, and of these 153 have been reported for refusal to take it. From May, 1947, to 30th April, 1949, about 25,000 European volunteer workers from Full Sutton holding hostel were placed in employment for the first time. About 4,600 of these people returned to the hostel for further placing, and most of them have since been placed in other employment.

Cannot arrangements be made to place these voluntary workers in gainful employment more quickly so that idle time is not left on their hands? When they have been offered employment and have refused, are they deprived of their meat ration?

The number of cases in which we have had a refusal is so small that it has not been necessary to take special measures. An indication of the smallness of the number is the figure of those who have had to be deported back to Germany, and that number is just under 200. That indicates that, on the whole, the European volunteer workers have reacted very well to the scheme and have played the game.

10.

asked the Minister of Labour whether, as the result of his inquiries into the damage caused by European volunteer workers at the Full Sutton camp in Yorkshire, he will now state what disciplinary action he proposes to take to ensure that the damage to neighbouring farms is not repeated.

As my right hon. Friend has already explained in correspondence with the hon. Member, the management of the camp are already doing all they can to prevent trespassing on surrounding property.

Is there any point in the right hon. Gentleman's giving assurances to the farmers that he will protect them in this matter if he is not prepared to take any disciplinary action?

I have not indicated that there is no disciplinary action taken in this matter. Disciplinary action has been taken.