HC Deb 28 September 1939 vol 351 cc1457-8
13. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that, in spite of the Government's appeal and the support accorded to it in the Press, many newspapers are themselves dismissing large numbers of their staffs; whether he is aware that in the case of one of the largest groups, comprising London and leading provincial papers, the dismissals total 30 per cent. of personnel; and whether he will make further efforts to impress especially on leaders of public opinion the value of example in maintaining the public morale?

Mr. E. Brown

There has been an increase in the number of workers in the printing and newspaper trades registered as unemployed, but I am not aware that these registrations have been made since my right hon. Friend's broadcast appeal or what percentage they represent of the employes of any particular group. A considerable proportion are casual workers. As regards the last part of the question, I desire to emphasise most strongly the value to the national interest of avoiding indiscriminate and unnecessary discharges of employes.

Mr. Griffiths

Will the right hon. Gentleman cause inquiries to be made where these dismissals have been taking place during the last week?

Mr. Brown

If the hon. Gentleman can make his statement a little more specific so that I can have some clear understanding as to what his question refers to, I shall be glad to look into it.

Mr. Garro Jones

With regard to the part of the answer which states that a great proportion of these dismissals consist of casual workers, is the right hon. Gentleman able to state where he got that information?

Mr. Brown

Certainly, Sir. That is our official information through the Employment Exchanges.

Mr. Garro Jones

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a great number of those who do not constitute casual workers are not registered at the exchanges?

Mr. Brown

I am pointing that out. I am dealing with the facts as I know them. You cannot expect information to be got outside the machine about those who do not register through the Ministry of Labour machine.

Mr. Leslie

Is the Minister aware that a large number of shop assistants have been discharged, and that one firm in the West End of London has discharged 300?

Mr. Brown

I am aware of that, and, as the hon. Member knows, the figures I have given to the House already show that the distributive trade, in London especially, and particularly as regards the employment of women, shows a large proportion of dismissals.

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