§ 5. Mr. Buchanan
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that recently Mr. Peter Gibson, 18, Camden Street, Glasgow, was notified by express letter from the South Side exchange about 7 p.m. to go to a job the following morning; that he started work and received in payment for part of the day worked 2s. 8d.; that he would have received in benefit the sum of 5s.; and what action he proposes to take to see that the man is paid at least an amount equal to his benefit, and also to see that men in future are not penalised in this way?
§ Mr. E. Brown
The facts are as stated in the question. It is the duty of the Employment Exchanges to inform unemployed workers of opportunities of employment. Mr. Gibson accepted this offer under the impression that he would be employed for a full day, and there is no action which I can take.
§ Mr. Buchanan
Cannot the right hon. Gentleman see that a man is not penalised for working, and take steps to see that while he is working he at least gets equivalent to what he gets when unemployed?
§ Mr. Buchanan
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the exchange allowed him to believe it was a full day, and will he take steps to see that a man who goes to a job at short notice is not penalised because of his desire to get employment?
§ 8. Mr. David Grenfell
asked the Minister of Labour the number of girls who have been recently denied benefit on account of their refusal to take up work at Reading and how many of them are resident in the Swansea Employment Exchange area; the number of vacancies reported by Messrs. Huntley and Palmer; and whether the Ministry of Labour has any difficulty in providing a sufficient number of girls to fill all bona fide vacancies reported by this firm?
§ Mr. Brown
since 1st January, 1938, the claims of 120 women and girls in the Wales Division have been disallowed by the courts of referees on account of refusal to take up employment with Messrs. Huntley and Palmer, Limited, in Reading, and of these 27 women (all over 18 years of age) were resident in the Swansea Employment Exchange area. Figures for other divisions are not at the moment available. In the same period Messrs. Huntley and Palmer notified to the Department a demand for 200 girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 23 years and, as it was not possible fully to meet this demand from local labour, a representative of the firm arranged to visit suitable areas in Wales and the 1367 North-West in order to interview suitable applicants for transfer to Reading. Eleven girls (under 18 years of age) from Wales, and 61 women from Wales and the North-West have been placed with Messrs. Huntley and Palmer as a result of these interviews. In spite of the shortage of local labour the Department has so far been able partly by transferring people from other districts to meet the demands for labour made by Messrs. Huntley and Palmer.
§ 9. Mr. Tomlinson
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the court of referees disallowed benefit for two weeks for alleged industrial misconduct in the case of Joseph Speakman, of Farnworth; and, in view of the fact that this misconduct consisted of absenting himself from work in order to apply personally for another job, which would enable him to earn a better wage than the one he was receiving, namely, 28s. per week, and which, as a married man, he found he could not live upon, he will consider amending the regulation defining industrial misconduct?
§ Mr. Brown
I have considered the circumstances of this case, but I do not think that any amendment of Section 27 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1935, is called for. That Section does not define the term "misconduct," and it is for the statutory authorities to decide whether disqualification has been incurred under this Section and to fix the period, within a maximum of six weeks, for which any such disqualification shall operate.
§ Mr. Tomlinson
Is the Minister aware that as long as the present definition of "industrial misconduct" under which the statutory authority works remains, no person in the unfortunate position of this man can escape from an occupation without being penalised for so doing? If that is the case, will be not inquire whether some alteration can be made in the definition?
§ Mr. Tomlinson
May I ask the Minister to look into the matter again, in view of the fact that in Lancashire at the present time this particular case has been multiplied by the thousand? Will he consider whether in the altered circumstances a new definition is not required?