Exchanges.

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 5th August 1925.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

29.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the staff at the Leicester Employment Exchange, women's branch, are subjected to frequent and extensive overtime, and that many of them have to work all day by artificial light; and what steps he proposes to take to remedy these conditions?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

I am aware that the unemployment position in Leicester has caused considerable pressure of work in the women's department of the Exchange during the past few months and that overtime1 has been necessary. The nature of much of the work has prevented its delegation to inexperienced staff, and the pressure has, therefore, fallen mainly on the supervisory staff. This staff has already been strengthened, and if there is any increase in the volume of work, further assistance will be sent. The premises are generally satisfactory, but in one part of the women's room artificial light is unavoidable. The lighting is by electricity, and I am satisfied that the conditions cannot be regarded as detrimental to the health of the staff.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

32.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will state an approximate date when the erection of new premises for the purpose of an Unemployment Exchange at Leigh will be commenced; whether, in view of the inconvenience being caused at the present time both to the staff and to those signing on, he is prepared to empower the manager of the Exchange to engage a schoolroom in the vicinity on days when it is known that large numbers of people will be dealt with; and if he has received a communication from the trades unions in Leigh drawing his attention to the un-suitability of the present premises?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

Representations as to the inadequacy of the existing Exchange premises at Leigh have been made, and, as I informed the hon. Member on the 22nd July, plans for alternative premises are in preparation. I am afraid I cannot say when it will be possible to begin the new building. I am having further inquiry made as to whether there is need for additional temporary accommodation in the meantime.

Photo of Mr Alexander MacRobert Mr Alexander MacRobert , Renfrewshire Eastern

34.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the defective accommodation at the Gourock Employment Exchange, where the heating and ventilation are both bad and the light very poor; and whether, having regard to the health of the staff, he can take any steps with a view to improving the existing conditions of work?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

The Gourock Exchange premises are purely temporary and are used on only four mornings a week. I have no information that the heating and ventilation are unsatisfactory, but immediate inquiries are being made, and any necessary improvements will be carried out. I will communicate the result to my hon. Friend.

Photo of Mr Alexander MacRobert Mr Alexander MacRobert , Renfrewshire Eastern

35.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the Employment Exchange at Renfrew is constructionally very unsuitable for the work transacted in it; and whether, having regard to the health of the staff, he can take any steps with a view to improving the existing conditions of work?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

Yes, Sir. Negotiations for the acquisition of alternative accommodation are already in hand, and will be hastened as much as possible.