HC Deb 04 July 1923 vol 166 cc437-8
75. Mr. HAYDAY

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is satisfied that the present methods in the production of aircraft are safe and reliable; whether he is aware that, for instance, in the works of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, much of the work is done by piecework and that War-time female labour is still employed at a wage of about 27s. per week; and whether he will institute a full inquiry into the causes of recent disasters, with special reference to the conditions under which the particular machines were produced, and to ascertain whether the institution of piecework in aircraft factories has any bearing upon the increase in the number of accidents?

The SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Lieut.-Colonel Sir Samuel Hoare)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As to the second, I am aware that much of the work done by the Bristol Aeroplane Company is on a piecework basis, and that women are employed on covering, doping, and other light work, for which they are qualified. As regards the third part of the question, all accidents are already fully investigated by the Inspectorate of Accidents, and the result of the investigations has not been of a nature to indicate the necessity for a special inquiry under the two heads referred to by the hon. Member. Accidents due to faulty workmanship are very rare and, when they do occur, there is no reason to suppose that they are in any way connected with the use of the piecework system in construction.


Could the right hon. Gentleman say to what, extent there is adequate inspection at the works?


There is very full inspection by the inspectorate of the Air Ministry.

Viscount CURZON

Is it not the fact that there has only been one serious accident to a British aircraft in the last 12 months?


I cannot answer that without notice, but I think the noble lord is right.