HC Deb 20 February 1924 vol 169 cc1737-8
72. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the dissatisfaction felt by the dockers and other casual workers at Hull and other ports at the methods of administering the Unemployment Insurance Act, whereby half-days employed are allowed to count nothing towards the drawing of benefit for which three days have to be spent without work before anything can be drawn; that this inflicts hardship on these insured workers; that when a man has not obtained work for two days, if he obtains work for half a day following he has to start afresh with idle days before drawing anything to carry him on until he can obtain another day's work: and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this state of affairs?


The conditions to which the hon. and gallant Member refers, and which, I may say, are not quite accurately stated in the question, were the subject of consideration in Parliament last year and an amendment in the law was then made with the express object of meeting grievances alleged by dockers and other casual workers. The question whether or not any further amendment should now be proposed is among those I am considering in connection with the Unemployment Insurance Bill I propose to introduce later in the Session.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these men are still very much dissatisfied with the way the Act is administered?


I am quite aware that considerable dissatisfaction exists, and I have very little hope of taking it all away. I can only do my best.


Can the Minister tell us, having regard to the means of avoiding any further difficulties with the dockers, whether the Government are prepared to give their support to a Bill for the decasualisation of labour which will be brought before the House?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this matter also applies to miners, and that in some of the mines of which I know the men are having five half-days a week, and have worked in this way 15 or 16 weeks in the summer, and have not been entitled to a single penny of out-of-work pay?


I am aware, Mr. Speaker, of many facts of this character in more than one industry.


Are you going to remedy them? That is the point.