§ Colonel ASHLEY
asked the Under-Secretaryof State to the Air Ministry whether instructions have been issued to the effect that discharged men shall receive preference for retention in their employment if it becomes necesary to reduce establishment; and, if so, why many such men are receiving notice of discharge from inspection departments throughout the country, whereas men who have not served are being retained and women are being trained for this particular work?1604W
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
I assume that my hon. and gallant Friend refers in his question to the Aeronautical Inspection Department, at present attached to the Ministry of Munitions. The instructions under which the demobilisation of this inspection staff have been conducted are that men who have served overseas, or who have been incapacitated or injured through service with the Colours, should be given preference, if of suitable qualifications, over civilians. The aeronautical inspection staff has to be reduced by no less than 90 per cent. of what was its strength before the signing of the Armistice. In view of this large reduction, I am afraid it is inevitable that a number of men who have served with the Colours must be discharged. A few women are being retained for work for which they are specially suitable, but not as substitutes for men.