HC Deb 23 November 1950 vol 481 cc481-2
9. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Labour if he will now make a statement on his negotiations with both sides of industry for the general resumption of work on Saturday mornings, so as to minimise the electricity cuts during the other five working days.

Mr. Isaacs

It has become clear from the review which the Electricity Sub-Committee of the National Joint Advisory Council is now conducting that the problem of avoiding electricity load shedding during the peak hours this winter has assumed serious proportions—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—I am interested to know hon. Members are glad of that—and the staggering of hours of work in industry either on normal working days or by the inclusion of Saturdays would not in itself solve this problem. The whole matter is still under consideration in consultation with the British Electricity Authority.

Mr. Osborne

Is the Minister not aware that these sudden and unnotified cuts endanger both the life and limb of the workers involved and reduce industrial efficiency? Did he advocate the resumption of work on Saturday mornings, and what are the reasons given for not working on Saturday mornings?

Mr. Isaacs

I cannot go into all the points in that supplementary question at the moment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not"?] Because, for detailed answers like that, I should require notice. If the hon. Gentleman puts down such a Question I will try to give him all the information.

Mr. Harrison

Does my right hon. Friend accept that working on Saturday mornings would substantially add to the difficulties of the spread-over of the electricity load?

Mr. Isaacs

It has effects in one direction but it has different effects in other directions. As I have said, the matter is being discussed with the British Electricity Authority. If they were to consider that this would be a useful procedure and would recommend it, I am sure industry would adopt it.

Sir Herbert Williams

Can the Minister say why Whitehall is entirely exempt from these cuts?

Mr. Isaacs

Very probably because the electricity service is adequate in that area. There is not enough industry.