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Employment (South Wales Ports)

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 15 April 1954

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asked the Minister of Labour how many dock employees are unemployed at each of the principal South Wales Bristol Channel ports, at the latest available date; and what steps are being taken to deal with this problem.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service
(Mr. Harold Watkinson)

In the week ended 3rd April, the average daily numbers of registered dock workers surplus to requirements were:

Port Talbot16
These men remain in the employment of the National Dock Labour Board and they are offered work in neighbouring ports as opportunities occur.

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he will bear in mind that at present, owing to shortage of work, particularly in Cardiff and Barry, some men have to be taken long distances each day which is a very expensive procedure? Will my hon. Friend also bear in mind the danger that those men who were formerly employed in coal exporting will be absorbed into other industry and, if required again, may not become readily available?

Yes, Sir. The Government are well aware of the difficulty of some of these South Wales ports. I think my hon. Friend has recently questioned my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade about this, and I cannot go beyond the answer which my right hon. Friend gave.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the transfer arrangement between port and port is working very satisfactorily in South Wales, and that such a condition of transfer did not exist before the war?


asked the Minister of Labour how many people in the borough of Barry unemployed at the latest date for which figures are available have been totally unemployed for a period of six months; and what steps he is taking to assist them in finding employment.

On 15th March, 59 men and 50 women registered as unemployed at the Barry Employment Exchange had been without work for over six months. These include a number who suffer from disability or who are otherwise handicapped, but my hon. Friend may be assured that every effort will continue to be made to place them in any employment for which they may be suited.

Is my hon. Friend aware that there will be general satisfaction in the area that these figures are so very low?

Is it not a fact that the figures in Barry are so low because a number of engineering industries have been introduced into the district as a result of the work of the Labour Government?

The fact remains that the figures are low, and that is the matter which interests me.