asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the workers engaged in two jute mills in Dundee ceased work on 22nd July, to resume on 2nd August; that these workers having drawn insurance benefit within the previous six weeks the Continuity Rule, U.I.L. 10, applied; and why these workers were asked to attend at the local Employment Exchange on Tuesday, 26th July, to sign the register, seeing that they were not entitled to any benefit during the period 23rd July to 30th July, these being the recognised customary holidays?
I can only tell the hon. Member that, judging from the circumstances which he gives me, and which I must verify before giving a definite reply, it looks as if an instruction of this kind had been given in order to safeguard possible applicants themselves. By the continuity rule it is quite possible that they might be entitled to benefit for a single day after the holidays were over, or for two days after the holidays were over, If you have a period of less than three days unemployment after holidays, proof of being out of work during those holidays would have to be given; consequently, an instruction of that kind might be in the interests of the applicants themselves.
The answer is quite plain. Under the Act, proof has to be given of part-time employment, and the fact that in certain trades holidays may or may not be customary, does not provide positive proof. I have said to the hon. Member that with regard to the particular case raised by him, it is clear I must inquire into the circumstances and verify the accuracy of the statements made before giving a definite answer. He asked me for a provisional answer, and I have given him what, on the face of it, seems to be the possible reason for such an instruction, if it was given.