HC Deb 19 July 1916 vol 84 cc1011-2
79. Mr. THOMAS

asked the Minister of Munitions whether the factory built ten months ago on the North-Eastern Railway, where expensive machinery was erected and 1,500 females employed turning out thousands of shells per week, was recently closed for three weeks, during which period a number of the workers were paid off, and that when another start was made the girls were only employed three shifts per week, and although the shift starting at 6 a.m. on the 13th July were ordered to work until 9 p.m., they were at the same time given notice that owing to the closing of the shop their services will not be required after Thursday, 20th July, 1916; and, in view of the need for munitions, as evidenced by the suspension of August Bank Holiday, and having regard to the suffering likely to result from such a large number of workers being suddenly thrown out of employment, whether he will make full inquiries into the matter?

Mr. WALTER REA (Lord of the Treasury)

My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer his questions. This matter was dealt with in an answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for the Attercliffe Division of Sheffield on the 17th instant, of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy.


Does the hon. Gentleman know that the notices of these 1,500 people expire on Thursday, and that the men in munitions cannot understand the dismissal of this number of people and the abandonment of holidays; and will he give an assurance that they will not be dispensed with?


I am informed that everything is being done to give these people employment. I undertake that my hon. Friend's supplementary question shall be brought to the immediate notice of my right hon. Friend.


How is it, seeing that there are two Parliamentary Secretaries to the Munitions Department, neither of them is here to answer questions?


There is only one.


asked the Minister of Munitions whether the National Shell Factory, Newport, Monmouth, has given a week's notice to the whole of their women workers; and, if so, whether this has been done with the knowledge and consent of the Ministry of Munitions; and whether he will state for what reason such action has been taken?


A week's notice was given to about 600 operatives in the factory referred to, with a view to facilitating certain special work required in the later stages of manufacture. Later it was found possible to make arrangements for carrying out this work without interfering with the ordinary work of the factory, and the notices only became operative in regard to 22 out of the 600 operatives concerned.