§ 11. Mr. Edelman
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that a Coventry machine-tool company, particulars of which have been given to him, which opened officially in premises costing £125,000 twelve months ago with a labour force of 250, has now dismissed all its employees; and what action he is taking to preserve the special skills of the men so dismissed from the machine-tool industry.
§ Mr. Heath
I am aware that the firm in question discharged its remaining forty employees at the end of last week. Of the fifteen who have registered for other employment, one has already been placed, three are being considered by other employers and my local officers hope to be able to suggest suitable vacancies to the remainder who are either semi-skilled or unskilled.
§ Mr. Edelman
While I recognise the efforts made by the right hon. Gentleman and his Department, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would agree that this is yet another symptom of the decline of this vitally important industry? As in the last ten years the labour force of the industry has declined by about 20 per cent., is it not appropriate that the Government should now inquire into the circumstances in which certain firms are acting as agents for the importation of machine tools from abroad, to the detriment of our own workers?
§ Mr. Edelman
On a point of order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the overall reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment.