HC Deb 21 October 1971 vol 823 cc877-8
9. Mr. Golding

asked the Minister of State for Defence what redundancies have been declared in Royal Ordnance Factories since 18th June, 1970; and what have been the causes.

The Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Mr. Ian Gilmour)

Since 18th June, 1970, there has been a reduction in strength of about 1,500 employees at seven Royal Ordnance Factories, due mainly to a falling-off in orders. Most of the reductions were achieved by normal wastage, but 322 employees, including 145 part-time workers, have had to be discharged.

Mr. Golding

Is the Minister of State aware that his Ministry should set an example by encouraging employment in its own establishments? While condemning the sale of arms, whether to South Africa or to Dublin, may I ask him if he does not agree that the Ministry should seriously consider adapting R.O.F. factories to the production of equipment which is needed particularly by the disabled?

Mr. Gilmour

In our negotiations with the trade unions we have abided by all the agreements which we have made with them. We have tried to allocate work to Radway Green, in which the hon. Gentleman is chiefly interested. We have had some success and have kept the number of redundancies down to the minimum.