HC Deb 10 May 1934 vol 289 cc1230-1
9. Mr. GROVES (for Mr. HICKS)

asked the Minister of Labour whether, arising out of the statement that there is a lack of men qualified to erect Neon electric signs, he has received a communication from the electrical trades union pointing out that a large number of such men are unemployed, and that this type of labour recruited from the training centres has been chosen on account of its cheapness; whether he has made further inquiries into the facts; and whether it is the settled policy to provide cheap labour through the medium of training centres?


Yes, Sir; I am inquiring into the representations made by the union and will communicate with them and the hon. Member in due course. I may say, however, that I should have referred to the manufacture, not the installation of Neon electric signs. With regard to the last part of the question, the purpose of these centres, as explained on many occasions in this House, is to give unemployed young men from the depressed industrial areas a course of training in skilled trades which should enable them, not to compete with fully skilled men, but to earn a wage sufficient to maintain them while they add to their skill and experience, and consequently to their earning power.


Will the Parliamentary Secretary see that when men are taken from training centres, whatever may be their technical skill, they will comply with the rate of wages prevailing in the trade?


In general the answer to that question is in the affirmative.


If we are able to show that trainees are displacing skilled men because they are cheaper, what action is the hon. Member prepared to take?


I should like to see the details of the cases to which the hon. Member refers.