HC Deb 26 May 1938 vol 336 cc1355-6
1. Mr. Leslie

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can give any information on the forthcoming International Labour Conference; and whether His Majesty's Government have formulated a policy on the questions on the agenda concerning hours of labour?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Brown)

The 24th Session of the Inter- national Labour Conference will open at Geneva on 2nd June. There are six items on the agenda, all of which are for first discussion. No conventions accordingly will be adopted except, possibly, on one item, concerning the collection of statistics of hours and wages, in regard to which it will be open to the Conference to proceed by single discussion and adopt a convention this year. Two Government delegates with advisers will attend the Conference, and I am appointing an employers' delegate and a workers' delegate, each of whom will be accompanied by 10 advisers. The answer to the last part of the question is in the affirmative. I may add, as I have already stated, that I hope that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary and I will attend.

Mr. Leslie

Is the Minister aware of the number of countries that have already adopted shorter hours of labour, and does he not consider that a reduction of working hours might absorb some portion of the 1,250,000 unemployed workers?

Mr. Brown

I am also aware that some countries which have adopted it have had to go back on it.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Does the policy which the right hon. Gentleman has formulated with regard to hours of labour involve support of the principle of a 40-hour week?

Mr. Brown

That will be made clear at Geneva by the delegates concerned.

Mr. Mander

Does my right hon. Friend and the Under-Secretary hope to remain for some considerable period during the Conference.

Mr. Brown

When I come back the Parliamentary Secretary will go, and we hope to be there several days, as last year.

Mr. Leach

Does the right hon. Gentleman promise to amend his very bad record there?

Mr. Brown

The record is very good.

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