HC Deb 12 February 1942 vol 377 cc1594-5W
Mr. T. Smith

asked the Secretary of State for War under what Defence Regulation a transport firm is informing its staff that it must take part in no civil or military, Home Guard, defence work not directly connected with transport; and whether employees of such a firm who are members of a district, not employers, Home Guard must resign, as they have been called upon to do, or whether such Home Guards can remain in training at least until such emergency as might cause them to be mobilised for immediate trans port work?

Mr. Sandys

There is no such Defence Regulation: The action taken by the firm in this case is in my opinion quite improper and has not the approval of any Government Department. Whether the employees of this firm resign before 16th February must be a matter for each man's individual decision. I realise that employees of transport firms have important civil duties to perform in an emergency. Home Guard commanders have, however, been given instructions to place in a separate category those men who by reason of their civil occupation will not be immediately available on mustering and no doubt the men referred to should be placed in this category. Should an employer consider that the civil duties of his employees may in the event of invasion conflict with their Home Guard duties his proper course is to consult with the Home Guard commander. If there is disagreement between them as to the respective importance of the men's civil and military duties Home Guard commanders have instructions to seek guidance from the manager of the local employment exchange. In the case of transport workers, the local representatives of the Ministry of War Transport are also available for consultation.