HC Deb 18 July 1923 vol 166 cc2290-1
28. Mr. T. SMITH

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that at Goole registered dock workers are required to sign twice daily at the Employment Exchange in order to qualify for unemployment benefit, which is regarded as unjust and unnecessary and has caused resignations from the employment committee; whether this practice of signing twice daily is in accord with the policy of his Department; and, if so, will he consider a modification of that policy at an early date?


In order that a proper check may be kept on the unemployment of dock workers claiming unemployment benefit, it is the policy of my Department, wherever practicable, to require them to prove unemployment by attendance and signature twice daily. This procedure (which is also in operation in other ports) has been in force at Goole for about a year and, while I am aware that objection has been taken to it at meetings of the local employment committee, no sufficient evidence has been brought forward to show that the procedure is unnecessary.


Will the right hon. Gentleman do his best to bring about a conference between employers and workmen in that district on the question of registration? There is a good deal of feeling in this matter, and it is causing a great deal of unrest among the dockers.


Is it not the fact that the workmen out of employment in some places are only required to register twice a week, and, in some cases, at most once a day? If the area is small should not once a day be sufficient?


In regard to the second supplementary question, of course it is true that in some unemployment it is usual to require registration once a day or where the distance would seem to need it a certain number of times a week is allowable; but as both the hon. Gentlemen are aware employment at the docks is somewhat differently arranged, and on the plan generally of two shifts a day: that is why the double registration is necessary.


May I press my question?


As to the promotion of a conference? The whole question of the registration and the decasualisation of labour is very important; also the question of registration. I cannot promise a conference in this particular port, but the whole matter is one that is having very careful consideration.

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