HC Deb 24 October 1916 vol 86 cc967-8W

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will state what steps have been taken to secure combing out in Government-owned naval factories?


Of course, my hon. Friend will fully realise that work in the Royal dockyards and in the naval establishments is of the utmost importance in connection with the maintenance of the efficiency of the Fleet and the Naval Service. Up to the present time there has been but little opportunity of sparing men from this service for duty elsewhere. So far from that, there has been a continuous demand for particular kinds of labour. We have met that situation by a system of dilution and of substitution. Women have have been introduced, unskilled and semiskilled workmen have been put upon work within their capacity; preference has been given to men either medically unfit or beyond military age.

Investigations have been in progress for some time and arrangements are proceeding to ensure that, wherever possible, workmen who are eligible for military service shall be released as soon as their places can be filled by substitutes who are unfit for military service; men so released will be almost entirely confined to the unskilled classes. My hon. Friend will be interested to know that up to the 14th July last, the date of the latest completed Return, no less than 8,203 men had been released for military service from the dockyard establishments, and that in August last we were employing over 3,500 women in the dockyards and other naval establishments.

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