HC Deb 22 December 1938 vol 342 cc3105-6W
Mr. Creech

Jones asked the Home Secretary what conditions have to be satisfied before permission is granted for the working of the two-shift system in the wool textile industry; what conditions are imposed on such permits; and what steps are taken to see that the conditions of the permits are observed?

Sir S. Hoare

Before an authorisation to work a shift system is granted under the Employment of Women and Young Persons Act, 1936, the opinion of the workpeople concerned must, except in certain cases of newly-established factories as provided for in Section 1 (2) of the Act, be ascertained by secret ballot in accordance with the Consultation of Workpeople Order, 1936, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member; and the Secretary of State must be satisfied that the majority of the workpeople concerned consent to the granting of the application. The conditions imposed in the authorisations vary according to the circumstances, each case being specially inquired into; but conditions commonly inserted relate to the provision of mess-rooms, the provision of transport facilities if necessary to prevent hardship, and facilities for attendance of young persons at continuation schools. The inspectors have instructions to pay special attention to seeing that the conditions are observed and they would also of course be prepared to investigate any complaints from the workpeople.

Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Home Secretary whether he will state the number of applications granted to employers in the wool textile industry in respect to two-shift working, and the average period allowed in respect to such permits; and what number of women, young persons, and men, respectively, have been involved in the permits granted?

Sir S. Hoare

The number of such applications granted to employers in the woollen and worsted industry under the Employment of Women and Young Persons Act, 1936, is 14, of which 11 were for limited periods averaging about five months. The Act does not regulate the hours of employment of men but about 120 women and half a dozen young persons were to be employed in the shifts. I am afraid I cannot give the figures for two-shift authorisations granted under the Act of 1920, but practically all of them have since lapsed.