HC Deb 22 June 1934 vol 291 cc690-1W

asked the Minister of Labour what are the hours of the normal week for the shipbuilding and engineering trades, respectively, recognised in Belgium, France, Germany, Russia, the United States of America and this country, respectively?


In Belgium and France there are statutory regulations limiting the normal working hours of workpeople employed in the shipbuilding and engineering trades to 48 a week. In special circumstances, e.g., in cases of breakdown or increased pressure of work, the regulations permit some extension of these hours, although in France, permission to work overtime in these trades to meet increased pressure of work is at present temporarily suspended in most districts. In Germany, the Statutes and Orders relating to hours of work limit the normal working time to eight hours a day, and 48 hours a week, subject to the provision that these hours may be extended by collective agreement between employers and workers, to a maximum of 10 a day and 60 a week. I am unable to say to what extent advantage has been taken of this provision in the past, or whether, in existing circumstances in Germany, the position in regard to permitted working hours has been materially altered. In all three countries, statutory provision is made for the extension of the weekly working hours beyond 48 in the case of particular classes of persons, e.g., those engaged upon intermittent or preparatory and complementary work, etc. In Russia, an Order, dated 21st June, 1932, provided that all permanently operating productive industrial under- takings should adopt a seven hour working day by 1st January, 1933. I am not in possession of information showing to what extent this Order is in operation in the shipbuilding and engineering industries; but, according to statistics officially published by the Soviet Government, 86.4 per cent. of the workpeople employed in the heavy industries in that country were working a seven-hour day at 1st July, 1932. In the United States of America, the normal weekly working hours fixed by the Codes of Fair Competition are 36 for the shipbuilding industry and, in general, 40 for the engineering industry. In Great Britain, the normal hours, as fixed by collective agreements between the organisations of employers and workpeople, are generally 47 a week, for day workers, in both industries.