§ 25. Miss Vickers
asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty if he will make a statement on the introduction of the 42-hour week in Her Majesty's Dockyards.
§ Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing
As from 3rd July the conditioned weekly hours of industrial employees in Her Majesty's Dockyards at home have been reduced to forty-two.
We have received assurances from the trade unions of co-operation in every possible way to ensure that the shorter working week will lead to no loss of production and they have accepted a general obligation to assist in measures designed to increase efficiency.
§ Miss Vickers
While thanking my hon. Friend for that Answer, which I am sure will be very satisfactory to all concerned, may I ask whether it has been agreed that the breakfast break, which they used to get on arrival—between ten and thirty minutes of arrival—is a wartime anomaly and is to be stopped?
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
Yes. We had a meeting of the Admiralty Industrial Council on this matter and the trade unions agreed that this was rather an old anomaly which should no longer exist. There will be other breaks during the day but not immediately after arrival.
§ Mr. Steele
Is the Minister aware that the Government have no reason to congratulate themselves on the long-drawn-out negotiations which took place before a decision was reached and that, particularly in a factory in my constituency, industrial relations have certainly not been assisted?
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
This is probably not the right moment to start a long debate on the long-drawn-out negotiations in the J.I.C. and other councils, but there are two sides to the case. If the hon. Member is right in saying that labour relations have been roughened, I hope that this settlement, particularly in our own dockyards, will re-establish confidence in the Whitley Council and its workings.