HC Deb 10 April 1930 vol 237 cc2367-9
Viscount WOLMER

(by Private Notice) asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why the workers at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, have received notice that they are, to be deprived this year of their usual holiday on Good Friday and the King's Birthday?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Mr. Montague)

As I explained in my reply of 17th February to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood), it was decided in connection wish the grant of a week's paid leave to industrial employés that only five paid public holidays should be allowed in future. Which these five days should be was considered by the men's representatives on the Whitley Committees at the various establishments, and the majority were in favour of the selection of Easter Monday, Whit Monday, August Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. These five days were definitely selected by the trade union side of the works committee at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. Good Friday and the King's Birthday will therefore cease to be paid public holidays.

Viscount WOLMER

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Whitley Council does not represent 30 per cent. of the industrial workers—[HON. MEMBERS: "How do you know?"] I have ascertained the figures. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it does not represent 30 per cent. of the industrial workers of this country—[HON. MEMBERS: "It is not a fact"]—and, is he also aware that the British Legion and other organisations of the workers at this factory have passed resolutions protesting against this order?


May I ask the hon. Gentleman if it is possible for him to ascertain the opinion of these people, except through the recognised machinery?


In reply to the question of the Noble Lord opposite, I am not aware of either of the points which he has raised, but I am aware that there has been no representation, other than that which I have mentioned.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, in view of the fact that the Whitley Council does not represent a large body of these workers, the Air Ministry have on more than one occasion had direct intercourse with other organisations; and will he now make inquiries as to whether these other organisations agree with the views which he has just expressed; and does he really think that it is a good thing for these men to work on Good Friday?


I do not think that it lies with the Air Ministry to make inquiries. If these representations are to be made, they can be made to the Air Ministry. As to working on Good Friday, I do not agree with working unnecessarily on a public holiday.


Do I understand the Under-Secretary to say that he will reconsider the question if further representations are made to him?




As this question obviously applies, in the main, to engineers who work by the hour, and who are represented by their union in these cases, is it not a fact that the trade practice is to treat Good Friday as a working day?

Viscount WOLMER

I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment.