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Dockers, London (Welfare)

Volume 480: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1950

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asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement concerning the inquiry conducted by his Department into the welfare conditions of the docks in the London area.

Many improvements in the welfare conditions have been made, particularly as regards sanitation and washing arrangements, and many more improvements are in hand. Steps have been taken to provide drinking fountains and improve the feeding facilities, and additional canteens are being provided. On the social and recreational side a recent improvement has been the provision of a recreation room near West India Dock Gate, with reading room and snack bar. Many improvements at wharves are also reported.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, if we are to avoid trouble in this industry in future now is the time to remove some of the disabilities, particularly with regard to welfare? Is he also aware that the dock workers of London, at any rate, are demanding now that these industries shall be nationalised so that they can get what they could not get from private enterprise?

It is quite true that many of the conditions in the docks were very bad.

I agree that they still are, but it is only fair to say that the Port of London Authority, the Dock Labour Board and various employers are very cordially co-operating in trying to bring about an improvement.