HC Deb 06 March 1947 vol 434 cc647-8
54. Mr. Alpass

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the Bristol Aeroplane Company have discharged reinstated employees to avoid paying the guaranteed 34-hour week wages and offer to restart them when the fuel crisis is over; and whether, as the company's engine division is affected, not by the shortage of fuel but of materials from sub-contract firms, and, in view of the obligation to ex-Servicemen under the Reinstatement Act which should guarantee continual employment, he will take steps in the matter to protect the men concerned.

Mr. Isaacs

As regards the first part of the Question, this is a matter which the workers should take up with their trade unions. I should, however, point out that the Reinstatement in Civil Employment Act does not guarantee a reinstated person a definite period of employment; it imposes an obligation upon a former employer to employ a reinstated person for 26 or 52 weeks, as the case may be, or so much thereof as is reasonable and practicable. In the event of dispute as to what is reasonable and practicable in any particular case, application can be made by the person concerned to a rein statement committee for a decision. I have no power to refer the matter to a committee, which is an independent statutory body appointed under the Act.

Major Bramall

Does the Minister's statement mean that when for a temporary period it ceases to be "reasonable and practicable," it will never be come "reasonable and practicable" in a subsequent period of 26 or 52 weeks?

Mr. Isaacs

I do not get the point of the question, but "reasonable and practicable" is for the committee to decide, and not for me.