HC Deb 11 October 1945 vol 414 cc447-9W

The scheme for release from the Forces in Class B is designed to supplement the labour force available for certain urgent reconstruction work, such as building or coalmining, and for certain essential services, such as education.

The scheme is not intended to provide a means whereby individual members of the Forces may seek their release out of turn on the ground of their special qualifications. On the contrary the object is to enable certain industries and essential services to be re-established or developed by the recall of persons with certain experience or qualifications who can be identified and whose retention in the Forces is not essential for Service reasons.

There are three methods of release according to the procedure of identification:

(1) the "block" release of persons who can be identified by the Services by reference to their occupation before enlistment;

(2) the release of persons who can only be identified by their former em-

ployer in the absence of adequate information in the Service record; and

(3) the nomination of persons regarded as "individual specialists."

The procedure is as follows:

(1) The normal method is the "block'' release method which is used, for example, in the releases for the building industry. In this method the Minister of Labour and National Service specifies the occupational classes in which men are required for release in Class B, and indicates the numbers authorised. The individual men are then identified by the Service Departments by reference to their Central Records on which the men's pre-enlistment civilian occupations are recorded. The Service Departments select men in the specified occupations, in age and service order up to the numbers authorised, excluding those whose release in Class A is imminent, and then issue instructions that the men so selected should be offered release in Class B. The conditions attached to such release are explained when the offer is made. In the event of acceptances not reaching the numbers authorised for release, the offer is made to additional men selected as above in age and service order.

(2) A different method of selection is used in a limited number of cases where the Service records of pre-enlistment occupation do not enable the right men to be identified. In these cases the Government Departments concerned with the reconstruction work for which Class B releases are authorised, obtain names of men with the required qualifications from the employers engaged on that work. The names are then for warded through the Ministry of Labour and National Service to the appropriate Service Departments who then issue instructions for the men concerned to be offered release in Class B.

(3) A third method of selection is used in the case of "individual specialists." These are men whose release out of turn is considered to be necessary because they possess special qualifications which make them person ally indispensable for filling key posts on urgent reconstruction work. In these cases the employer desiring the man's release must apply to the Government Department mainly concerned with the work for which he is wanted, explaining why his out-of-turn release is considered necessary. If the Government Department support the application they send it to the Ministry of Labour and National Service who are responsible for ensuring that a common standard prevails, and after examination of the case may recommend to the Service Department concerned that the man should be offered release in Class B.

The above statement describes the methods of release and the procedure for identification, but it should be noted that for Service reasons it is not always possible for a member of the Forces to be released in Class B even though his release has been recommended. The Service Departments have, however, undertaken to restrict such cases to a minimum.

Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Labour to whom men who wish to be discharged under Class B should make their application; and if this information will be communicated to all military commands to remove the existing confusion about the matter.

Mr. Isaacs

The initiative in obtaining release in Class B does not lie with the individual except in the case of men coming within the description of "individual specialists" who work on their own account. In the case of "block" release of men in occupational classes specified by me, the men are selected by the Service Departments by reference to their civil occupations as recorded in the Service records. In the case of nominated releases, application is made by the prospective employers to the Government Departments concerned with the work for which the men are required, and if approved, the applications are transmitted through my Department to the Service Departments. This has already been explained to the Forces, but further steps are being taken to make the procedure of Class B release quite clear to all concerned.

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