HC Deb 25 October 1949 vol 468 cc1132-3
15. Lieut.-Commander Clark Hutchison

asked the Minister of National Insurance how many disabled ex-Service men employed as temporary clerks in the Central Pensions Branch of the Ministry of National Insurance, Grassmarket, Edinburgh, have received notices to terminate their employment on account of redundancy; and how many part-time female temporary clerks are employed in the same office and have not received similar notices to terminate their employment on account of redundancy.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of National Insurance (Mr. Steele)

No final notices have been given but preliminary warnings of probable redundancy have been given in a number of cases. Three of those affected have claimed to be disabled ex-Service men and their cases are being investigated. Two part-time women clerks who are senior in service to these men are employed in this office.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary think it is wrong in principle that ex-Service men, particularly those who are disabled, should be discharged while part-time female clerks are retained?

Mr. Steele

First of all, these men have been given only preliminary notice of a possible redundancy. The second point in the Question is answered by the fact that the redundancy is dealt with under an agreement which is arranged at national level with the staff associations concerned.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

Should not the agreement be revised to prevent this sort of thing happening?

Mr. Steele

That is a matter for the staff association.

Squadron-Leader Fleming

In localities where there is redundancy is it taken into account whether there are female employees who could be discharged before the ex-Service men are discharged?

Mr. Steele

The whole question of redundancy is a matter which has been agreed nationally by the staff associations concerned, and, therefore, it is our duty to ensure that those agreements are maintained.

Mr. Mathers

Is the Minister aware that local branches of the staff associations are complaining about the way in which this matter is being handled at the present time? Would he make certain that the ex-Service men are not prejudiced by the retention of those who, according to the staff associations have less claim to be retained?

Mr. Steele

Before discharging seriously disabled people, whether they are ex-Service men or not, serious consideration is given to them. So far as the staff association is concerned, they have their own machinery which, I think, should be used in these cases.