§ Mr. LESLIE SCOTT
asked the Minister of Munitions if he will state the number of 1573W ports in the United Kingdom in which men of the Transport Workers' Battalion have worked on cargoes in which the Ministry has been interested; the date of the first cargo handled by men of the battalion; the total number of cargoes so handled inwards and outwards; and the total number of days on which such work has been done by men of the battalion?
My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this and the three following questions. I am informed by the Port and Transit Executive Committee that the number of ports at which munition cargoes have been handled by the Transport Workers' Battalion is ten; that the first cargo was dealt with on the 18th May last and the first munition cargo on the 17th June last; that the total number of cargoes is about 126, and. the number of days so occupied up to the 26th instant was 67,000, of which upwards of 40,000 represent work on munitions.
I am informed by the Port and Transit Executive Committee that the work of the Transport Workers' Battalion has been satisfactorily performed, and has facilitated the flow of traffic through the ports.
§ Mr. SCOTT
asked the Minister of Munitions whether the conditions laid down by the Port and Transit Executive Committee as to the men of the Transport Workers' Battalion being employed only, to supplement proved deficiencies in civilian labour have been complied with in all ports; and whether there has been any difficulty in securing co-operation between civilian labour and the men of the battalion?
The Port and Transit Executive Committee inform me that the reply to the first question is in the affirmative, and that in every case the deficiency has been certified by a local committee containing representatives of the Admiralty, War Office,. Port Authority and Labour. There has been, I understand, no difficulty between civilian labour and the battalion.
§ Mr. SCOTT
asked the Minister of Munitions whether the strength of the Transport Workers' Battalion is adequate to 1574W meet all cases of deficiency in civilian labour; whether delay could have been avoided if it had always been possible to supplement existing civilian labour by calling in the battalion; and whether he can state what steps have been and are being taken to increase the strength of the battalion?
The view of the Port and Transit Executive Committee is that the strength of the Transport Workers' Battalion is inadequate, and the War Office have recently approved an increase in its numbers.