HC Deb 09 July 1924 vol 175 c2236
23. Mr. MILLS

asked the Minister of Labour if he will issue an instruction to all employment exchange managers and staff that bonâ fide skilled men registering for employment are entitled to the minimum rate of wages recognised as the district wage, and that length of unemployment, especially in the branches of the engineering trade, shall not, in view of the long-continued depression in that industry, be regarded as an excuse to refuse benefit if the skilled man refuses work at less than the established rate?


The Employment Exchanges cannot undertake to decide the rate of wages to which an individual workman is entitled. When it is a question of disallowance of covenanted unemployment benefit, statutory rules which, if necessary, are interpreted by the Insurance Officer, Courts of Referees and the Umpire, are laid down by Section 7 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920. Even where uncovenanted benefit is claimed and where the worker may be required in certain circumstances to accept work other than that to which he has been accustomed, such work must still be on terms and conditions which arc fair for that work.


Will the Minister of Labour say whether there are any rules that instruct the officials of the Employment Exchange to enter on a man's notepaper that in their opinion, having been out of work for two years, they think a skilled man should accept a lower rate of wages even than that ordinarily paid in the district?


If my hon. Friend will supply me with particulars I will have inquiry made.