§ 5. Mr. James Griffiths
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that tinplate workers, rendered idle, are refused permission to take work near their homes and are being held in reserve for work which is not at present available; and will he make a statement of the intentions-of his Department in regard to these men?
§ Mr. Bevin
Substantial numbers of unemployed tinplate workers have been placed in employment locally and there has been no attempt to reserve them for work which was not at the time available, though some colour may have been given to this suggestion by unavoidable delays in transfer which have occurred in certain cases. Under the special labour supply scheme which has just been introduced for the iron and steel industry the use to be made of unemployed tinplate workers will be a matter, in the first instance, for the Regional Committee which will operate this scheme in Wales, consisting of representatives of my Department and 1507 of the Ministry of Supply and of the two sides of the industry. Any unemployed tinplate workers for whom suitable employment in the iron and steel industry either in South Wales or elsewhere is not available will be placed on other work of national importance.
§ Mr. Griffiths
May I take it that if this work, for which they are reserved, is not available, and other work is available, they will not be kept idle?
§ Mr. Bevin
I must give precedence to the iron and steel trade as a whole. I have approved of a scheme which treats the industry as an entity, and I must fill up within the industry first. If there are no available positions in the industry to which to transfer the men then they must be placed on other work.