HC Deb 23 June 1953 vol 516 cc1653-4
5. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the Minister of Labour what percentage of the dock workers who have been out of work for more than four weeks consist of men over the age of 65.

Sir W. Monckton

I regret that this information is not readily available and could only be obtained after considerable research.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Will my right hon. and learned Friend persist in trying to find some means by which these very elderly workers can be taken off the register and brought where they should be—within the normal national system of dealing with the aged?

Sir W. Monckton

I am aware of the difficulty in this particular regard, but I would inform the House that the figures of those merely getting attendance money have in the last few weeks been very low because I am happy to say that work at the docks is very much heavier than it was in months past.

Mr. Lewis

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman consult with the Joint Industrial Council and the trade unions concerned and not take any action until they have had a chance to discuss the matter?

Sir W. Monckton

I should not dream of trying to take action without first informing the National Dock Labour Board, whose primary task it is, and we have always been careful to get in touch with both sides in industry.

Sir H. Williams

Why does Her Majesty's Government get rid of most people at the age of 65 and give no consideration to those over 65?

Sir W. Monckton

I can assure my hon. Friend that we give a great deal of consideration to those over 65, and we are earnestly engaged in trying to help them now.

Mr. Awbery

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that these men over 65 years old are experienced and skilled in the handling of cargoes, and remained on to help the Dock Labour Board when the demand for them arose?

Sir W. Monckton

I am well aware that in spite of their age people over 65, as I have seen myself in the docks, can do admirable work, and I hope that all employers will notice it.

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