HC Deb 14 June 1956 vol 554 cc733-4
1. Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

asked the Minister of Labour how many man-days were lost through industrial disputes, sickness industrial accidents and prescribed diseases, taking the last convenient year in each case.

The Minister of Labour and National Service (Mr. Iain Macleod)

The approximate number of man-days lost is as follows:

Industrial disputes
Sickness 280
Industrial accidents 18
Prescribed diseases
It is difficult to make exact comparisons because some of the figures are not comprehensive. For example, the figure for industrial disputes excludes stoppages involving fewer than ten workers, and that for sickness usually excludes absences of less than four days.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

While I thank my right hon. Friend for those very interesting figures, which I think merit considerable further study, would he not agree that there is immense scope for an increase in productivity by eliminating some of the causes leading to sickness in industry?

Mr. Macleod

Yes, Sir. I think they are very remarkable figures indeed. They show that our losses through sickness are about 75 times our losses through industrial disputes. I am told that at any given time about 1 million men are away from work through sickness. This shows in which field it may be possible to make substantial advances.

Mr. Lee

Could the right hon. Gentleman obtain a breakdown of the sickness figures to show how much is accounted for by the man's occupation as distinct from the ordinary run of sickness?

Mr. Macleod

I have isolated the figures for prescribed diseases, which in part meets the hon. Member's point. I should not think that such a break-down of the sickness figures is available, but I will look into this with the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, and, if it is available, I will let the hon. Gentleman know.