HC Deb 08 July 1963 vol 680 cc842-3
12. Mr. F. Noel-Baker

asked the Minister of Labour what instructions he has given to deal with redundancies at Swindon British Railways workshops which will affect boiler makers for whom other local employment is not available; and what discussions he has had with the men's trade union and the British Railways Board.

Mr. Hare

The full facilities of my Department are being made available to workpeople of all trades. Forty of the boilermakers at present under notice have so far sought our help and have all been offered employment locally. I am hopeful that the prospects for the others will prove as good. I have had no discussions with the trade union, but I am in close touch with the Railways Board.

Mr. Noel-Baker

I am grateful for anything the Minister can do. What kind of jobs have these men been offered? Secondly, is the Minister aware that these boilermakers have all been under the impression that their jobs were safe for at least another 12 months? When they got the news in the middle of June that they would be redundant it was a great personal shock to them.

Mr. Hare

In reply to the latter part of that supplementary question, there has been no variation in the scheme announced for the run-down at Swindon. In reply to the first part, these men will be employed on general engineering work, including machine operating and, possibly, panel beating. Probably the hon. Member knows the two firms which will be largely responsible for giving them employment.

Mr. Dance

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have a similar problem in Bromsgrove at a wagon works there, and that Sir Stewart Mitchell has been extremely good over the whole matter in that he has given every encouragement to these men to find other jobs and has endeavoured to ensure that they do not lose the benefits which they would have received from the railways if they had stayed with them for the full term?

Mr. Hare

It is true that the Railways Board are doing all they can to give as much prior notice as possible to men who will become redundant. A newspaper report, which the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker) has probably seen, gave a slightly wrong impression—namely, that people were given notice to terminate rather earlier than would normally have been the case. In fact, the redundancy will not take place before the time originally planned.