§ SIR J. LENG
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether a number of workmen have been discharged recently from the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich owing to there not being sufficient work to keep the regular staff employed; and whether he will consider the desirability of adopting the short time system, similar to that followed by many private employers, in order to keep their staffs together, and minimise the sufferings caused by lack of employment; or, failing this, whether he will have recourse to the eight hours' system which has proved successful in various large engineering establishments?
§ MR. WOODALL
During the past few years the normal staff of workmen at Woolwich has been greatly increased in connection with the defence loans; as this extraordinary expenditure ceases we must of necessity revert to the ordinary conditions, and a considerable diminution in the number of men employed becomes inevitable. The discharges have been deferred until the summer, and all possible pains will be taken to minimise 1062 the inconvenience as further reductions may be necessary; the alternative of working shorter hours is under consideration.
§ MR. WOODALL
The reductions already effected have boon considerably exaggerated, the numbers now employed being less than 5 per cent, fewer than in the corresponding week last year and a little more than 6 per cent, below the largest number employed in any one week that year.