HC Deb 10 February 1953 vol 511 cc193-4
3. Mr. Chapman

asked the Minister of Labour how many of the 800 men dismissed as redundant in the late summer of 1952 by the Austin Motor Company were afterwards found re-employment by his Department in the same company and in other firms, respectively.

Mr. Watkinson

Of the 775 workers discharged by the Austin Motor Company last summer, about 400 were re-engaged by the firm and 140 found alternative employment through the exchanges. The remainder were mostly elderly workers due for retirement, and very few of them are now registered as unemployed.

Mr. Chapman

Is the Minister aware that a dispute was narrowly avoided at this factory because of the way the management handled this matter, and, since there is likely to be some seasonal fluctuation, will the hon. Gentleman consider consulting with the management of such firms to prevent high-handed hiring and firing actions of this kind in the future, which leads under modern conditions to a bad spirit among the workers?

Mr. Watkinson

I am sure the hon. Member would like to know that my regional office has been in close touch with the Austin Motor Company and with the British Motor Corporation as a whole, and, as far as the redundancy dealt with in the Question is concerned, there are now only 20 men registered as unemployed.

Mr. J. T. Price

Would the hon. Gentleman give the House some clearer indication of what he means by elderly workers? Is he aware that a very large number of people over 50 in all parts of the country are unable to get employment, and that this is a most distressing problem, particularly when they are fit for a full day's useful work?

Mr. Watkinson

I heartily agree, but that point arises on a later Question.

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