HC Deb 27 May 1935 vol 302 cc762-3

(forMr. DENVILLE) asked the Minister of Labour whether since his Department employs a large number of women cleaners in Employment Exchanges for more than 30 hours per week during the winter months and reduces the hours of employment to less than 30 per week during the summer months, he will consider changing this policy since it brings their average to less than 30 hours per week all the year round, entailing the loss of gratuity on retirement, 30 hours a week being the minimum which constitutes a full-time cleaner?


As my hon. Friend will appreciate, the hours of work of cleaners must be related to the amount of time required for the proper performance of their work. This point is at present being discussed by a Committee of the Departmental Whitley Council.


(forMr. DENVILLE) asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the Government offices which employ women cleaners direct and which offices employ these cleaners through contractors; whether he is aware that these employés in the latter case do not, in any circumstances, receive a gratuity at the end of their period of service, although the former do; and what is the objection to employing all these women cleaners direct by the State, qo that they can all receive the gratuity?


The cleaning of Government offices is normally carried out by direct-paid staff. In certain cases, however, for example, when the landlord has made arrangements for the cleaning of the premises generally and a charge for this service is included in the rental, it would not only be inconvenient and uneconomical but also impracticable to employ direct-paid staff. I regret that a comprehensive list of the offices where cleaning work is performed otherwise than by direct-paid staff is not available, and could not be obtained without a disproportinate amount of labour. As regards the second part of the question, I am aware that direct-paid whole-time women cleaners are, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions, eligible to receive a gratuity from Government funds on termination of service, and that cleaners employed on a contract basis, like the employés of Government contractors generally, are not so eligible. I cannot, however, accept the suggestion contained in the third part of the question, that on this account all cleaning work in Government offices should be performed by direct-paid staff.