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Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 21 June 1949

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Foundry Conditions


asked the Minister of Labour what progress has been made in carrying into effect the recommendations of the Joint Advisory Committee on Conditions in Iron-foundries.

This, as previously explained, is a matter for action in many matters of detail by employers and workers in the industry, so that the progress made cannot be briefly described. Structural alterations, and alterations in methods of working, are involved to a considerable extent, but it appears that considerable progress has been and is being made in spite of serious practical difficulties, and it is kept under review by the Joint Standing Committee on Foundry Conditions.

Is the Minister aware that while a good deal of progress is being made by some firms there is a number of other firms in whose premises practically no progress is being made at all? Will he endeavour to make sure that progress is attained in all sections of the industry?

Yes, Sir, the factory inspectors are keeping a constant watch on this matter. I should say that in the great majority of cases the employers are most actively co-operating in this matter.

Wages Disputes (Arbitrator)


asked the Minister of Labour which trades unions have protested at the appointment of Sir Luke Fawcett as an arbitrator on wages disputes; and, as he has declared his support for the Government's wage freeze policy, whether this appointment will be reconsidered.

None, Sir. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative.

As the newspapers report otherwise than as the Minister has replied, may I ask the Minister if it is not the case that the arbitration board is supposed to be an impartial body; and whether, if a person is put on the arbitration board who has already stated his general views in connection with wages, it is fair that he should decide on a matter which is to come before him in connection with an increase of wages?

Sir Luke Fawcett has the reputation of being an honest, conscientious man. I have every confidence in him, and, despite what any newspaper or anybody else says, I intend to retain him on this body.

Disabled Persons


asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to satisfy himself that the Disabled Persons' (Employment) Act, 1944, is not being evaded by organisers of sporting events employing other than registered disabled persons to operate their car parks; that police and service personnel are not so employed instead of registered disabled persons; and what supervision is carried out by the Department to see that the Act is being duly observed.

By an order made under this Act it is not permissible to engage for employment as a car park attendant any person other than a registered disabled person, unless a permit has been obtained. There is systematic inspection of employers' records to ensure compliance. The order does not prohibit part-time or casual employment on these duties of persons otherwise in the employment of the same employer, nor does it affect the service or duty of police or members of His Majesty's Forces.

Does that mean that a certain number of people are employed for part of their time on car parks and the rest of their time in other duties for their employers? That would not be very fair.

No, Sir, that is not the situation. What happens is that occasionally some small event crops up and an employer may appoint one of his ordinary employees to do this job. With one or two exceptions—one rather particular—most of these car park people are actively co-operating with us. We have known one or two cases of noncompliance. In most of the cases an observation from us has put the matter right.