HC Deb 28 January 1963 vol 670 cc569-71
41. Mrs. Hart

asked the Minister of Labour if he has been informed of the number of employees of the Rolls Royce factory in East Kilbride expected to be working only a four-day week from 28th January; and what indication he has been given of their future prospects.

Mr. Hare

I understand about 2,000 workers there will be losing one week's

what he said. I am glad, and I know that he will be glad, to note that there is some improvement in the shipbuilding position in Aberdeen. I am glad to say that Hall Russells have accepted an order for three car ferries worth £1½ million. As the hon. and learned Gentleman knows, we shall do all we can to improve the employment position in Aberdeen.

Following is the table of figures:

work in five from 28th January but that the firm hopes to be able to end short-time working by July at the latest if normal wastage is at the expected rate.

Mrs. Hart

Is the Minister aware that this very serious short-time work position in the new town of East Kilbride is occurring in a modern industry and not one of the declining industries of Scotland? Is he aware further that any hopes of a return to normal work by the middle of the year will, to some extent at any rate, depend on the degree of help given by the Minister of Aviation? Will the right hon. Gentleman consult his right hon. Friend on this matter?

Mr. Hare

Doubtless the hon. Lady will table a Question to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation. In general, we shall continue to do what we can to help.

Mr. Bence

Would the right hon. Gentleman inquire into the practice of some of these companies up in Scotland which, having been established with Government help, then proceed to sub-contract an awful lot of their work back down South again?

Mr. Hare

If the hon. Gentleman would be good enough to give me chapter and verse of that, I should be very glad to take it up or consult my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. Until he gives me details it is a little difficult for me to answer this question.

Mr. Manuel

Does the Minister recognise the danger here? His reply to my hon. Friend holds out very little hope of some immediate improvement. Is he aware further that it is too much to expect the skilled workers to hang on for a six-month period losing one week in four or one week in five, as the case may be? Therefore, the skilled labour force is likely to be lost.

Mr. Hare

I appreciate the dangers of which the hon. Gentleman has spoken. He knows my concern that Scotland should not lose more skilled labour than possible. In fact, he knows that my desire is to see that Scotland builds up a bigger pool of skilled labour in order that it can take advantage of expansion when expansion comes. This, I believe, will not be too long delayed.

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