§ 15. Mr. CHARLES DUNCAN
asked the Minister of Munitions whether Messrs. Elliotts, a firm of moulders and joiners, at New bury, Berks, have dismissed several girls because of their membership of a trade union, and that, prior to reinstating these girls, this firm has made the girls sign a paper stating they were not, and would not become, members of a trade union; whether the firm is controlled by his Department and the action complained of is illegal; and whether he will make inquiry into this matter, with a view to its prompt treatment?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of MUNITIONS (Mr. Kellaway)
I have caused local inquiry to be made into this matter. I am informed that no girls were dismissed on the grounds alleged. It was necessary, on account of alteration in machinery required by the Government, to give a week's notice to the whole of the women workers, and the women's work was closed down entirely from 15th March to 21st March. Since then women have been re-engaged as work was available for them, but no applicants for re-engagement have been asked to sign any paper on the subject of trade union membership or have 2310 been rejected on the ground of refusal to do so. I understand that the girls were asked to sign a card which contains no reference to trade union membership, but contains an inquiry as to the medical association to which the applicant belongs. It is possible that this may have given rise to misunderstanding.