HC Deb 07 October 1942 vol 383 cc1199-201
31. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware of the long hours of travel to and from work incurred by shipyard workers on the Clyde owing to the lack of housing facilities in the neighbourhood of their work; and, in view of the approach of winter and the reduction of travel facilities owing to the fuel situation, what steps is he taking to ensure these workers being able to reach their work?

Mr. Noel-Baker

The Transport Consultative Committee for the Clyde, in conjunction with representatives of the Shipbuilders' Association and the Trade Unions, has formulated a scheme to improve travelling facilities for shipyard workers on the north bank by the staggering of working hours, but so far the scheme has not been accepted. The employers generally expressed the view that the transport difficulties experienced in the early months of the war have been largely overcome, but in order to secure further improvement, I should be grateful if my hon. Friend would use his influence to help us in obtaining acceptance of the scheme of staggering which would enable the transport undertakings to improve the travel facilities for the workers.

Mr. Kirkwood

I will do all I can to assist, but I want my hon. Friend's Department to do all in their power to meet their obligations. It should not be left to anyone like me to reorganise transport.

Mr. Noel-Baker

I am most grateful for my hon. Friend's promise of assistance, and I promise him in return that our Regional Transport Commissioner will continue to do all he can to help the workers. He has already adopted special measures to make their travelling better.

Mr. Gallacher

Will the hon. Gentleman take a job for one day and travel home one night, and I can guarantee that the next day he will stagger?

Mr. Davidson

From what source does the opposition come to this scheme? Is it from both employers and unions?

Mr. Noel-Baker

The employers have reported that a large number of the workpeople are not yet convinced that it is necessary or desirable. My belief is that on both the employers' and workers' sides there are still prejudices, which I hope will be overcome.