HC Deb 21 January 1937 vol 319 cc348-9
62. Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for War how many of the reservists called up for service in Palestine have been reinstated in civilian employment?

Sir V. Warrender

Of approximately 2,100 reservists who have notified their employment situation, about 1,600 have secured employment.

Miss Ward

May I ask what the War Office propose to do about the others?

Sir V. Warrender

We are still pursuing every effort we can, in conjunction with the Ministry of Labour, to find these men employment, and we hope to succeed.

Miss Ward

In view of the fact that these men left their ordinary employment to go abroad in the interests of their country, and have returned, will my hon. Friend say quite severely to employers that they should consider it their duty to reinstate these men? Is my hon. Friend aware that a great many people think it is intolerable that these men should be left without employment?

Mr. Speaker

There seem to be too many epithets in the hon. Lady's supplementary question.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the hon. Baronet aware that it is reported that, in some cases in which reservists are making application for their previous employment, they have been offered lower wages?

Sir J. Nall

Would my hon. Friend collect and publish the names of the firms?

Sir V. Warrender

I am aware of the very natural apprehension which hon. Members have in all parts of the House, and which we have at the War Office, about the position of these men, but it must be remembered that all these reservists were not in employment when they were called up. Some 500 of them were out of work. When I gave the figures to the House on the last occasion, on the 17th December, the position then was that there were 760 of these men still unemployed. Since that date we have reduced the figure to 500 and, though the position is still unsatisfactory from our point of view, at any rate the position of these men, taken by and large, is no worse than it was when they were called up.

Mr. Macquisten

Is it the same 500 who are now unemployed?