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Employment

Volume 527: debated on Thursday 13 May 1954

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Factory Inspectors (Qualifications)

1.

asked the Minister of Labour how many of the factory inspectors in the entry grade have science qualifications; and how many are arts graduates.

Of the 83 factory inspectors in the entry grade, seven have science qualifications and 61 are arts graduates. Two inspectors have engineering qualifications and 13 have considerable works experience.

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman remember that there was a different picture in this connection before the war, when most of the people in the entry grade had technical and scientific qualifications? It he aware that the change may be due, in part at least, to the fact that such graduates are now taken over by other Ministries which are able to offer higher financial incentives? Will the Minister do something about this?

The answer to the last part—which is perhaps the most important part of the hon. Member's question—is that a claim for an increase in the salaries of the chief inspector, deputy chief inspectors and superintending inspectors is at present under consideration.

Is the Minister aware that we are all very happy to hear that, not because we have any interest in any particular person but because if the grades are lifted in this way for the chiefs it means that the whole status of the service is raised as well?

Workers, Tullos (Dismissal)

2.

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that about 60 men have just been dismissed from Tullos factory, Aberdeen, owing to a recession in the industry there; and what steps he is taking to provide employment for these men.

Yes, Sir; 53 men and 10 women were paid off from Tullos factory with wages until 7th May. The Employment Exchange Service will assist those who register to find other work.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Does he hold out any prospect that this unemployment will cease and alternative employment will be offered? Does he realise that, from the national point of view, this loss in productivity is very serious?

Of the men mentioned in the answer, 13 are fully skilled and there will be no difficulty in placing them. What is causing this redundancy is a temporary slowing down in subcontracting work which, it is hoped, will be resumed at the former rate by the autumn.

Aircraft Industry, Scotland

3.

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that a recession in the aeroplane industry in Scotland is increasing unemployment there; how many workers in this industry in Scotland are now unemployed, and in which factories; and what steps he is taking to find them work.

No, Sir. The number of persons employed in the aircraft industry in Scotland in March, 1954, was nearly 16,000. This was over 2,000 higher than the previous year. Less than 1 per cent, were unemployed in April, and the Employment Exchange Service will continue to assist them to get work.

Could the Minister say how it is that though there is no general unemployment in this industry in Scotland there is unemployment in Aberdeen? Why Aberdeen?

One must begin with the satisfactory news that, in the aircraft industry in general in Scotland, there is no or very little unemployment. From time to time there are places where the position is more difficult than in others, but I do not apprehend any serious unemployment in this industry.

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman also give consideration to the difficult position arising in Northern Ireland as a result of redundancy in this aircraft work?

That is quite a different area, but it is the same kind of question and I am already giving it such consideration as I can.

Tobacco Factory, Stirling (Closing)

5.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the British-American Tobacco Company employ over 200 workers at their factory in Stirling; and what steps he is taking to ensure that other work is available for these workers when this factory closes down.

I am aware that the British-American Tobacco Company is dosing its factory at Stirling next month, and that this will cause about 200 workers to become redundant. My local officers are taking steps to find other employment for them and I am glad to say that 77 have already secured other jobs.

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that about three-quarters of these workers are girls and young women, for whom it is already very difficult to find employment in the area?

Yes, but I can assure the hon. Member that in addition to the 77 who are to become redundant next month and have already got other jobs I have firm hopes for another 30, and I shall pursue my endeavours for the rest.