HC Deb 11 July 1962 vol 662 cc1328-9
8. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the decision of Messrs. Bellis and Morcom, Ledsam Street, Ladywood, Birmingham, to discharge a large number of employees in the near future; what notice he has received of this decision; how many employees are involved; and what arrangements he is making to provide alternative work for those discharged.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Alan Green)

The Department was informed by the firm on 14th June that 400 workers were to be discharged on 6th July; those who needed assistance in finding alternative work were registered in advance of their discharge and every effort is being made to help them.

Mr. Yates

Is the Minister aware that although this firm has made a loss in three successive years it was able to give its workers only two or three weeks' notice before discharging 430 workers a large number of whom have given over thirty years service, and a number over forty years, without a single penny compensation being paid to them? Is this fair? Could not the Ministry safeguard workers from this kind of thing?

Mr. Green

The Department has no legal powers to do what the hon. Member has suggested. I understand that the difficulty is because of the firm's financial position. I am aware that compensation has not been offered, and I gather that the redundancy is the result of a real decline in orders for the firm's products.

Mr. Cleaver

Can my hon. Friend say whether the firm has a pensions scheme or not?

Mr. Green

Not without notice.