HC Deb 08 May 1941 vol 371 cc951-2
1. Mr. Price

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that some firms find difficulty in staggering holidays for their workpeople without a loss of production; and whether he will consider that closing for a week's rest may be the best in the long run?

2. Mr. Robert Gibson

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has considered the complete closing of selected works during successive weeks as an alternative to keeping works going uninterruptedly by allowing a proportion of workers off in successive weeks and so diminishing materially the effective supervision of the work and lowering the proportionate out put; and whether he has any statement to make on the subject?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Bevin)

It is not possible to lay down any rigid rule as to the most advantageous way of arranging the week's holiday. The circumstances of each case must be considered. I am arranging for the area boards to be brought into consultation in the various localities.

Mr. Price

Is it not a fact that there may be a decrease in production if holidays are staggered? Is it not better on the whole in certain instances to arrange for a clear week?

Mr. Bevin

No, I have explained that you cannot have a universal scheme. It may be that some of the works are on such priority work that even a week's holiday may be difficult to give. In some cases we cannot afford to stop work on the machine tools, and there must be staggering. In others it may be that the type of work is of such a character and the need for overhaul and renovation of such a kind that a week's stop may be preferable, but I must leave it to be adjusted by those concerned.

Mr. Thorne

Will there be any objection to the workers and employers getting together to arrange it?

Mr. Bevin

That is what I have asked them to do. I have also asked the area boards to get into consultation, so that the employers and trade unions may be advised of the urgency of the work upon which they are engaged.