Working Hours.

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 15th November 1934.

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Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

1

asked the Minister of Labour (1) what are the proposals of His Majesty's Government with reference to work-sharing for the distribution of employment and the consequential decrease of continuous unemployment;

(2) whether he can now make any statement upon the practicability of the introduction of a seven-hour day or a five-day week in industry?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

As I informed the House yesterday, I have arranged for immediate consultation with representative organisations of employers and workpeople regarding the general question of hours of work, and in this connection the particular points to which my hon. Friend refers will undoubtedly be brought under review.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for what he has said, may I ask him whether he will consider giving the benefit of the advice of his Department to any firm which desires at once to put into operation any scheme for the shortening of the working week?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

Yes, I shall be only too glad to do so.

Photo of Mr Wilfred Paling Mr Wilfred Paling , Wentworth

Am I to understand from the reply of the right hon. Gentleman that the Government are definitely going to recommend to the employers the adoption of the seven-hour day and the five-day week?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

No, Sir. The hon. Member must not understand something that I never said. I said that I was going to discuss, I hoped, with industries individually the possibility of the absorption of more workers by means of the shortening of hours.

Photo of Mr Wilfred Paling Mr Wilfred Paling , Wentworth

Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman's statement last night that the question of discussion would be overtime? Is he going to bring up these other matters in addition? Is he going to recommend to the employers that they should adopt these other things in addition to leaving off overtime?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

It is not only a question of overtime, but the hours of work generally.

Photo of Mr Wilfred Paling Mr Wilfred Paling , Wentworth

Is the right hon. Gentleman himself in favour of recommending these things?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Is it a fact that those firms which have already experimented with the 5-day week have in each case

Unemployed persons, resident in the Borough of West Ham, on the registers of Employment Exchanges.
Date.Men aged 18 and over.Women aged 18 and over.Juveniles aged 14 to 17.Total.
20th March, 193316,3492,11995719,425
19th March, 193413,4081,69956315,670
22nd October, 193413,0011,35043714,788