HC Deb 29 February 1928 vol 214 cc401-4
28. Mr. MALONE

asked the Minister of Labour what industries, either in the South of England or around London, hold out a prospect of being able to absorb unemployed workers transferred from the more distressed areas?


As I stated in reply to the hon. Member on 22nd February, there are trades and districts in which the rate of employment is relatively very low, and experience shows that men coming from other districts succeed in obtaining work. But so much depends on the aptitude of the particular applicant and his suitability for a particular job that I do not think I ought to attempt to specify the industries to which applicants for employment should be directed.


If the Minister of Labour cannot specify the industries, how can men who are unemployed in the north know where to come to?


The reason, as regards London, is that it is not so much a question of industries as of jobs. For example, there is a great turnover of work in London, and opportunities for jobs are continually growing. It is in that way that a considerable number of Welsh miners have obtained work. It is not possible, it is not right or suitable, that people should flock in in large numbers because they hear of a particular job, for they might be disappointed. But with the quick turnover in London and the- comparatively good state of trade here, there is an opportunity for sharing out a good amount of employment with people like miners from South Wales who come in from the more distressed areas.


Is it not a fact that workmen are being grossly misled over these jobs?


Does that mean that the Welsh miner comes to London and prevents a Londoner getting a job that another Londoner has vacated?


Not necessarily.


What else can it mean?


In what type of employment have the bulk of these Welsh miners been placed; have any of them been placed in the artificial silk trade?


Perhaps the hon. Member, when he asks for details of that kind, will give me notice. So far as I am aware, none of the Welsh miners have been placed in artificial silk works, in what I call the ordinary weaving or textile trades. The greater number, so far as I know, are in constructional work of one kind or another.


In view of the prospects in London and the south, has the new Committee which is being set up succeeded in transferring any men from the north to the south where the work is supposed to exist?


asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that miners are being sent from Lancashire Employment Exchanges, principally Wigan, to Manton collieries, Nottingham, under the promise of work, good wages, and regular employment; that the statements made to the men are not correct, and that many men from Wigan have had to apply to the Worksop Board of Guardians for relief; and whether he will institute inquiries into these cases, with a view to preventing a continuance of such transfers to districts where work is not available, and also to safeguard the unemployment benefits of the men who have been misled by these offers, and of those whose benefits have been stopped because they refused to go to Manton?


I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the transfer of miners from Wigan to pits at Manton under the ownership of a Wigan company. The men were interviewed by representatives of the colliery company, and I have no evidence that the statements made to the men at the interviews were not correct, nor does my information support the hon. Member's statement that many have since applied to the Worksop Guardians for relief. Further transfers to Manton have been temporarily suspended owing to short time working. The question whether benefit, can be paid to men who refuse offers of work is decided not by me, but by the independent statutory authorities appointed for that purpose.


Is the Minister of Labour aware that 90 people were asked for and that a considerably greater number—over 100—have been sent than were required; and that the chairman of the Worksop Board of Guardians has made a public statement that something like 120 people have applied to that board of guardians for relief; and that when these people returned to Wigan they had to apply to the board of guardians?


I will certainly inquire further into any point that needs inquiry, and, if the hon. Member will give me any information, I shall be glad to place it with the other points for inquiry.


I can give the right hon. Gentleman newspaper reports.


When the right hon. Gentleman is making his inquiries, will he ascertain whether this colliery has employed all its men who were stopped in 1926, or whether it is not a, fact that many of the men who have hitherto worked at that colliery are still unemployed, and that the whole colliery has been on short time for a very long period indeed?