HC Deb 12 June 1941 vol 372 cc314-5
13. Mr. Higgs

asked the Minister of about whether he is aware of the factory output that is being lost by workers arriving late in the mornings; and can he see his way to encourage better time keeping by appeal or otherwise?

Mr. Bevin

I lose no opportunity of impressing upon all persons engaged in industry the importance of punctuality and efficiency at work. It is equally necessary to recognise that insistence on excessively long hours of working over considerable periods of time is one of the underlying causes of difficulty which should be removed. In the case of undertakings scheduled under the Essential Work Order, there is now machinery under which the National Service Officers and the Local Appeal Boards can deal with cases of absenteeism or persistent lateness reported to them. I am endeavouring to make this machinery as effective as possible.

Mr. Higgs

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that those factories which are not working exceptionally long hours are getting to be considerably worse timekeepers than they were before the war? I am much obliged to the Minister for emphasising the importance of this question.

Sir Percy Harris

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman, in consultation with the Minister of Transport, endeavour to see that more travelling facilities are provided, so that these people can get to and from their work on time?

Mr. Woodburn

Would the right hon. Gentleman make an investigation into the fact that in Glasgow and other towns groups of 10, 20 or even 30 men are sometimes left standing, and cannot get to their work for lack of transport?

Mr. Bevin

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and I have set up joint bodies to consider the transport problem, in regard to both the staggering of hours and time-keeping. I would like to take this opportunity of asking the management of industry to co-operate with those bodies. There is a tendency in industry on the management side to leave everything to everybody else, but it should be a joint effort to try and simplify the problem.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister not aware that much more time is lost through the inefficiency of the managements than through the fault of the workers?