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Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 19 July 1949

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Negotiating Machinery


asked the Minister of Labour what steps he proposes to take to speed up the negotiating machinery in industry.

This is a matter for the two sides of industry who, I am sure, are aware of the need to avoid delay.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that about 75 per cent. of all the strikes which have taken place in the last few years have been attributed by the strike leaders and the men to the length of time taken by this negotiating machinery?

I do not accept that conclusion. The fact is that the machinery is there, and if worked properly there is no reason for delay.

Dock Workers


asked the Minister of Labour which docks are subject to the terms of the Dock Labour Scheme; and how many docks involving how many men work under conditions different to the Dock Labour Scheme as applied to the London docks.

As the answer is long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether there is a larger number of dockers working under a system other than the London system?

I should say that a substantial part of the dock workers in this country come under the National Dock Labour Scheme, which is precisely the same as the London Port Scheme.

Following is the answer:


A. Ayrshire ports:

The following ports:
  • (1) Ardrossan.
  • (2) Ayr.
  • (3) Irvine.
  • (4) Troon.
  • B. The Port of Barrow-in-Furness.

    C. Bristol and Severn ports:

    The following ports:
  • (1) Bristol.
  • (2) Sharpness.
  • (3) Gloucester.
  • D. Cornwall ports:

    The following ports:
  • (1) Charlestown.
  • (2) Falmouth.
  • (3) Fowey.
  • (4) Hayle.
  • (5) Mousehole.
  • (6) Newlyn.
  • (7) Par.
  • (8) Penryn.
  • (9) Penzance.
  • (10) Porthleven.
  • (11) Portreath.
  • (12) St. Ives.
  • (13) Truro.
  • E. Cumberland ports:

    The following ports:
  • (1) Maryport.
  • (2) Silloth.
  • (3) Whitehaven.
  • (4) Workington.
  • F. East Anglian ports:

    The following ports:
  • (1) Boston.
  • (2) Great Yarmouth.
  • (3) Kings Lynn.
  • (4) Lowestoft.
  • (5) Sutton Bridge.
  • (6) Wisbech.
  • G. East Coast of Scotland ports:

    The following ports:
  • (1) Aberdeen.
  • (2) Bo'ness.
  • (3) Burntisland.
  • (4) Dundee and Tayport.
  • (5) Grangemouth.
  • (6) Kirkcaldy.
  • (7) Leith and Granton.
  • (8) Methil.
  • H. The Port of Fleetwood.

    I. The Port of Glasgow.

    J. The Port of Greenock.

    K. The following ports:

  • (1) Grimsby.
  • (2) Immingham.
  • L. The following ports:

  • (1) Hull.
  • (2) Goole.
  • M. The Port of Ipswich.

    N. The Port of London.

    O. The Medway and Swale ports:

  • (1) The Medway Conservancy.
  • (2) Queenborough Harbour Authority.
  • (3) Milton Creek Conservancy.
  • (4) Faversham Navigation Commission.
  • (5) Whitstable.
  • P. The following ports:

  • (1) Birkenhead.
  • (2) Bromborough.
  • (3) Ellesmere Port.
  • (4) Garston.
  • (5) Liverpool.
  • (6) Manchester.
  • (7) Partington.
  • (8) Preston.
  • (9) Runcorn.
  • (10) Weston Point.
  • (11) Widnes.
  • Q. The following ports:

  • (1) Middlesbrough.
  • (2) The Hartlepools.
  • R. The Port of Plymouth.

    S. The following ports:

  • (1) Southampton.
  • (2) Poole and Hanworthy.
  • (3) Weymouth.
  • T. South Wales ports:

    The following ports:
  • (1) Barry.
  • (2) Cardiff and Penarth.
  • (3) Llanelly.
  • (4) Newport.
  • (5) Port Talbot.
  • (6) Swansea.
  • U. Tyne and Wear ports:

    The following ports:
  • (1) Newcastle.
  • (2) Gateshead.
  • (3) North Shields.
  • (4) South Shields.
  • (5) Sunderland.
  • (6) Blyth.
  • (7) Seaham Harbour.
  • (8) Dunstan.
  • The number of ports which are classified as ports for the purposes of the industrial agreements of the National Joint Council for the Port Transport Industry, and which are not included in the National Dock Labour Scheme is 34. No exact information is available as to the number of men employed on dock work in these ports, but they are all small ports.

    Following is the List:

    List of ports classified by the National Joint Council for the Port Transport Industry for its industrial agreements, but which are not included in the National Dock Labour Scheme.

    Greater Ports:


    Smaller Ports:

    Arbroath.Isle of Man ports.
    Briton Ferry.Ramsgate.
    Carlisle.Scilly Isles.


    asked the Minister of Labour how many men are now employed as registered dock workers; how does this figure compare with 1938, in both instances, including workers at all docks and harbours in the United Kingdom but excluding Northern Ireland; and what are the trades unions concerned with this type of labour.

    As the answer is long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

    Following is the reply:

    Figures supplied by the National Dock Labour Board show that 74,767 men were on the Dock Workers' Register as at 2nd July, 1949. Comparable figures are not available for 1938, but at the middle of that year the number of insured men aged 16–64 employed in the port transport industry as a whole was about 95,000.

    The trade unions concerned are:

    Transport and General Workers Union.

    National Union of General and Municipal Workers.

    National Amalgamated Stevedores and Dockers.

    Scottish Transport and General Workers Union, comprising the Workers' side of the National Joint Council for the Port Transport Industry.

    In addition, the Watermen, Lightermen, Tugmen, and Bargemen's Union represents the classes of workers described in that title.

    Football Pools Canvassers


    asked the Minister of Labour, in view of the Control of Engagement Order, how many canvassers employed by football pools organisations were engaged through the employment exchanges.

    The information is not available. Exchanges would only offer such employment in the absence of suitable vacancies on essential work.

    Are we to understand from that answer that the Ministry of Labour have no information as to the manner in which men and women are recruited to do their work as canvassers for these pools organisations; and is not the Ministry of Labour interested in the manner in which labour of this kind is being used in this country?

    I am afraid that my hon. Friend has come to the wrong conclusion. A large number of people who are employed by the pools are completely outside the Control of Engagement Order, so that naturally the Ministry cannot keep track of them.


    asked the Minister of Labour how many male and female football pools canvassers are now employed in England, Scotland and Wales by Littlewoods and Bonds Pools, Vernon Pools and Screen Pools, respectively.

    In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, and in order to give the Ministry of Labour some information which they ought already to possess, I beg to give notice that I shall try to raise this question on the Adjournment.

    Hostel, Staverton


    asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the hardship caused to residents at the National Service Hostel at Staverton, near Cheltenham, by the increase in the charge of 5s. per week; and if he will arrange for an investigation into its administration, with a view to seeing if economies can be effected, which will make the increase unnecessary.

    I cannot accept that the increase in charges at industrial hostels has caused any special hardship. Except for the reduction in charge at the sub-standard hostels, there is no differentiation in charge between different hostels.

    Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that this means an increase to these people in the cost of living of 5s. a week at a time when the Chancellor has asked that there shall be no increase in wages; and are not the Government interested in the administration of these hostels which have been subsidised at the rate of £1,800,000 per year?

    I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman has not really got the point. The Government have been subsidising these hostels, and the charges in the hostels compare very favourably with the charges in private homes, but the Government ought not to be asked to go on subsidising this special set of workers, and they are now being asked to pay an economic price.

    I have asked not for an increase in the subsidy but for an inquiry into the administration. What is the objection to an inquiry into the administration?

    These men now pay 35s. a week, which is much less than they would have to pay in private homes in this country for the same facilities. In view of that, I do not think that an inquiry is really warranted.

    In view of the supplementary answers the right hon. Gentleman has given, is he aware that 35s. a week is already substantially in excess of the price a farmer in this country is allowed to charge per week for keeping a man; and how does he expect these men to keep a home in some other town and also pay 35s. a week to a hostel.

    I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman missed part of my main answer, which was that the substandard hostels have a much lower charge, and most of the sub-standard hostels are in the agricultural areas.

    The right hon. Gentleman said that 35s. is substantially less than the charge made in private homes. Is he not aware that farmers have private homes and that they are allowed to charge only 35s.?

    I was referring to charges in industrial hostels which are situated in industrial areas. I think that 35s. is less than the charge in the usual urban area.

    Is the Parliamentary Secretary not aware that the residents in these hostels get only two meals a day and three meals on Sundays; that they have to get extra meals outside for which they pay—1s. 4d. at midday, and 8d. for a snack at supper time—which brings their expenditure up to £2 7s. 8d. per week; and will my right hon. Friend inquire into that?

    I do not accept those conclusions. I have been round many of these hostels, and I must say that the State is giving the residents of these hostels a very good deal indeed.