HC Deb 05 May 1920 vol 128 cc2056-8
33. Viscount CURZON

asked the Minister for Labour whether the trade union concerned with the making of cricket balls still refuse to allow the employment of disabled ex-Service men; if so, on what grounds; and if the Ministry of Labour are taking any action in the matter?

The MINISTER of LABOUR (Dr. Macnamara)

I understand that there is objection on the part of the Amalgamated Society of Cricket Ball Makers to the admission of further trainees and apprentices into their trade on the ground that there is already sufficient labour in the trade to cope with the demand for goods, and that it would accordingly not be in the interests of either the trade or of the ex-service men themselves if the latter were admitted to it.

Further, at a conference between representatives of employers and workpeople engaged in the manufacture of sports equipment and officials of the Ministry of Labour, held in October last, it was unanimously agreed by both employers and workpeople that the processes involved in the manufacture of cricket balls were generally unsuitable for the employment of disabled men, owing to the high standard of physical fitness required for the work. If this be so, it does not appear that the Ministry can usefully take any action in the matter.

Viscount CURZON

Is this really the last word on behalf of the ex-service men?


I will go into it myself personally, but I am advised that the heavy leather stitching necessitated does involve a physical strain on the disabled men, and that is the proposition which interests me.


Is there any industry in which the trade unions will allow these ex-service men to participate?


Certainly, and I hope that by goodwill and good temper arrangements may be made by which that will be universally true.


Can the right hon. Gentleman find a single instance in the mining industry where an ex-service man has not been able to return to his employment?


I have already answered my hon. Friend.


May I ask whether the best judges as to their ability to undertake arduous work are not the disabled men themselves rather than the trade unions?


These men are very anxious to earn their living, and it may very well be that without good advice—and I am taking it on that ground solely—they might take up training work which, because of the ultimate supply in the particular trade, and also because of their condition, might not be so profitable to them in the long run as something else which we might suggest. We will do our best for them.

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