§ 43. Lieut.-Colonel Sir MERVYN MANNINGHAM-BULLER
asked the Minister of Labour whether he can state his decision to the application for admission to this country of a number of Czechslovak technicians who would be employed at the new Bata shoe and slipper works at Tilbury; whether he is aware that labour for these works is likely to consist mainly of juveniles and persons under 25 years of age recruited from agricultural districts; and whether he can make any statement on this subject?
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Henry Betterton)
This application is at present under consideration, together with representations which have been made to me on the subject by the Joint Industrial Council for the boot and shoe industry. I can assure my hon. Friend that I will take all the circumstances as fully as possible into account before reaching a decision, but I should perhaps point out that my responsibility is limited to the issue or withholding of permits for a small number of foreign experts for a limited period to train British workers. I understand that local workpeople are likely to be engaged for employment at the factory, but I have no information as to the proportion of juvenile labour.
§ Sir ARTHUR MICHAEL SAMUEL
What is it that a foreign shoemaker can do that a British shoemaker cannot do?
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Before granting the permit, will the right hon. Gentleman assure himself that the firm referred to are not the same as that which refused to acknowledge trade unionism.
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
I am taking every fact into consideration before deciding whether these permits are to be granted or not, but I have pointed out in my answer how limited my power is; it is limited to granting or withholding a permit.
§ Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE
This matter has been discussed with a deputation from the Joint Industrial Council for the boot and shoe manufacturing industry which was recently received at the Ministry of Labour by the Parliamentary Secretaries of the Ministry of Labour and the Board of Trade.