HC Deb 10 March 1920 vol 126 cc1294-5W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions whether hundreds of officials in the Ministry of Munitions have recently received a month's notice to terminate their agreements; whether a memorandum was issued to the whole staff of the Ministry late in February to the effect that, wherever possible, it was the intention to give all officials a month's warning before they were given a month's notice, thus allowing them two months to obtain other employment; and why, within a few days of the issue of this notice, several hundreds were given a month's notice without the month's warning which had been promised?


The answer to the first part of the question is yes, Sir. In accordance with Treasury Regulations, it is now the practice of the Ministry to give temporary officials,wherever possible, a month's warning prior to the issue of a month's notice to terminate their services. In the cases referred to, it was not pos- sible, however, to give the month's warning, owing to the fact that prior to the announcement of the Treasury instructions with reference to the warning, the Ministry had given a definite undertaking to the Cabinet to reduce its staff to a certain number by a fixed date. There is no undertaking that employés will receive a month's warning in every case but only in those cases where such was possible. Further, as stated in the official memorandum referred to by my hon. Friend, it is not intended that the period of two months which may elapse before an employé can be discharged should be allowed to inflate the staff of the Ministry beyond the minimum necessary for the efficient conduct of its work.