HC Deb 07 August 1925 vol 187 cc1741-2W
Colonel DAY

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that at an Employment Exchange in the North of England recently the staff were working for 36 hours at a stretch to cope with the local situation; and whether, in view of the number of ex-service clerks that have been discharged from his Department and are still unemployed, he will seek Treasury sanction for such increase of the staff as will enable the work to be done efficiently and without overtime?


I think the hon. and gallant Member is referring to an incident which took place a year ago. Owing to the sudden closing of several collieries, some 5,000 claims to benefit were lodged at a local office which normally dealt with less than 100. Staff was immediately transferred, but it was not practicable in the circumstances to avoid considerable overtime, which the staff concerned undertook voluntarily in order to avoid delay in dealing with claims to benefit. This was an exceptional case; as I have already indicated in reply to several questions recently, I am satisfied that the exchange staff is not working excessive overtime or that the arrangements which exist for providing additional assistance when required are inadequate.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the cramped conditions in which the staff of the Devonport Employment Exchange have to work, and that there is only one lavatory for 12 of them; and whether he will cause this accommodation to be improved?


Yes, Sir An extension to the building—including additional lavatory accommodation—has been approved and work will be started at an early date.


asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the defects of the Employment Exchange building at Greenock; whether proper lavatory accommodation can be provided; and whether he will make investigations to see if the necessary alterations can be carried out for the benefit of the staff?


As the hon. Member is no doubt aware, the present Employment Exchange premises are part of the Custom House. The accommodation, though not unsuitable in itself, is inadequate, and negotiations for securing new premises are in hand. No specific complaint as to lavatory accommodation has been received at Headquarters, but the matter is being inquired into.