HC Deb 23 July 1942 vol 382 cc154-6
7. Mr. Mander

asked the Minister of Labour when he proposes to put into operation his plans for improving the wages and conditions in the catering trades?

Mr. Bevin

As stated in reply to previous Questions, I am giving active consideration to this matter, but I am not yet in a position to make any further statement.

Mr. Mander

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that he will not allow his excellent scheme to be obstructed or unduly delayed?

Mr. Bevin

I think the hon. Member may be assured that I shall see it through.

8 and 13. Major Procter

asked the Minister of Labour (1) whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction of small private caterers and café proprietors in the North of England who are faced with competition from British Restaurants and are unable like the latter to obtain the protection of the Essential Work (General Provisions) Order; and whether he will arrange that the same conditions of deferment are applied to all sections of the catering trade whether operated by the Government or by local authorities; and

(2) whether British Restaurants are protected establishments under the Essential Work Order; and whether they are in a more favourable position so far as the reservation from military services of their staff is concerned than owners of small private cafés and restaurants?

Mr. Bevin

Catering establishments of local authorities were recently brought within the field of the Essential Work (General Provisions) Orders, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Food, after consultation with representatives of employers and employed with regard to conditions of service and otherwise. No similar representations have been made to me with respect to the catering trade generally.

Major Procter

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider an application from the catering trade as a whole, so that their men can be given the same treatment as those in British Restaurants?

Mr. Bevin

I am willing to consider an application, but I would remind my hon. and gallant Friend that the basis of the Essential Work Order is to tie people to their jobs, and I have to have a knowledge of the rates and conditions to which I have to direct them.

Mr. Shinwell

Will my right hon. Friend do nothing to interfere with the useful progress of the British Restaurants scheme?

Mr. Bevin

I think my answer is clear. I have applied the Essential Work Order in order to protect the people, who, in British Restaurants, are working on a trade union agreement, which makes the task of applying the Essential Work Order comparatively easy.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of the allegations from the catering trade regarding competition from British Restaurants are fantastic, and, further, that most of the success of good British Restaurants is due to voluntary service on the part of women?