§ 33. Mr. G. TERRELL
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether in view of the shortage of labour in the labour market, he will give directions to the Labour Exchanges to tabulate according to their trades the different classes of Belgian refugees who desire to obtain work and to offer them to employers?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. J. M. Robertson)
Special Labour Exchanges have been set up at the three main reception centres for refugees in London, namely, Earls Court, Alexandra Palace, and Aldwych, and all Belgians who appear suitable for employment arriving at these centres are urged to register. Arrangements have also now been made to encourage Belgians already resident in various parts of the country to register at the local exchanges. Belgian workpeople registered in any of these ways are submitted for any vacancies notified by the employers, subject to the observance of the two conditions that there should be no suitable British labour available and that wages and conditions offered should be those generally accepted in the occupation and district. As a result of the action described, up to 13th February, 5,843 Belgians had been placed in employment through the exchanges. The object of the hon. Member's suggestion is, therefore, I think, fully met, and it only rests with employers to notify any unsatisfied demands for labour promptly and regularly to the nearest Labour Exchange.
§ Mr. G. TERRELL
Are the trades being properly tabulated so that employers may readily ascertain whether the class of labour they are seeking is to be had at one of these exchanges?
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
Do the conditions which apply to these appointments of Belgian refugees include conditions under the Insurance Act?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
What steps are taken to see that these refugees are not men who ought to belong to the Belgian Army?
§ 34. Mr. GEORGE TERRELL
asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of unfilled vacant situations which have been registered at the Labour 1116 Exchanges by employers during the past month; and whether he is satisfied that the Labour Exchange officials are by inter-communication showing sufficient activity in the direction of filling such vacancies?
§ Mr. ROBERTSON
During the five weeks ending 15th January last, 142,747 vacancies were notified by the employers to the Labour Exchanges, and, in addition, 43,092 were carried forward from the previous monthly period, making a total of 185,839. Of these 100,828 were filled by the exchanges during the period, 33,002 were cancelled by the employers or filled in other ways, and 52,009 were carried forward. The number carried forward in each case consists of course mainly of vacancies notified during the latter portion of each period. It has always been an essential part of the Labour Exchange system that the exchanges should, by constant intercommunication, bring unfilled situations in one district to the notice of workpeople in other districts, and in August last steps were taken to develop and systematise this work by the establishment of a central clearing house. During the five weeks ended 15th January last, 20,195 vacancies were filled by workpeople from a district other than that to which the vacancy was notified, as compared with the number of 7,699 for the corresponding period of the year before. This comparison shows, I think, that the Labour Exchanges are having growing success in promoting the movement of labour from one district to meet needs in other districts, and I see no reason to be dissatisfied with the results obtained.
§ Mr. G. TERRELL
Am I to understand from the hon. Gentleman's answer that he is practically able to fill all vacancies?