§ 98. Major NEWMAN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will outline to the House the latest change approved by the Government with regard to recruiting and the distribution of manpower generally, and whereby managers of Labour Exchanges will approve men now serving La the Army for transfer to civil employment, inspect, revise, and check lists of employés, decide between skilled 387 and unskilled labour, and direct local tribunals as to the men who can be exempted from military service on the grounds that some work of national importance has been found for them?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Pretyman)
In outline the scheme is one for releasing for the Army men now in civil employment by the substitution of men relatively unfit for military service, without impairing the efficiency of munitions work or other essential industries. The function of the Employment Exchanges will be to act as the centres at which supply and demand will meet, and at which suitable substitutes are to be selected.
The selection of men now serving in the Army for transfer to munitions work will be performed by officers of the Employment Department chosen for this work on the ground of their special knowledge and experience, and acting in co-operation with the military authorities and representatives of the Ministry of Munitions.
It is obvious that points of doubt and difficulty will arise as regards the lists of unskilled men transmitted by employers to divisional officers under the provisions of the scheme, and in this connection the services of managers of Employment Exchanges who have had much experience in dealing with industrial matters must be of great assistance. Matters, however, of difference with the employer or of technical inspection will not be dealt with by the managers, nor will they issue any directions to local tribunals, although their advice will be freely at the disposal of the tribunals.
§ Major NEWMAN
Is it not the fact that the Employment Exchange is the old Labour Exchange, one and the same?
§ 99. Major NEWMAN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the personnel of the Labour Exchanges, who will in future control the allocation of the man-power of the country, includes any men of military age and fit for service?
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I do not think it is correct to say that the Employment Exchanges will control the allocation of the man-power of the country, though they 388 undoubtedly are and will continue to be an essential part of the machinery by which this man-power is distributed. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer to replies already given in this House.