Sunday Work.

Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort. – in the House of Commons on 29th May 1941.

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Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the comments of the Select Committee on National Expenditure, he will take steps to abolish work on Sundays except in very special cases?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The recommendation on this subject in the Fifteenth Report from the Select Committee, relating to the aircraft industry, is broadly in accordance with views which have been expressed on behalf of the Government, particularly in my reply of 3rd April to the hon. and gallant Member for East Leicester (Captain Lyons). Some progress has been made in this direction, and I am considering with my colleagues the methods by which Sunday working may be reduced to the utmost extent compatible with the flexibility necessary for certain systems of production and the temporary requirements of specially urgent work.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Does my right hon. Friend remember a report issued during the last war that, with a given number of hours per week, production is high in the factories and it is not worth employing people on these very technical jobs for more than a given number of hours per week?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The aircraft industry has certain peculiarities in this sense, that changes of type are so frequent that you keep getting a hiatus, and then you have to go all out, after re-tooling, to make up your production again. You cannot run the aircraft industry on a balanced order exactly the same as you can many other industries.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

While recognising that principle, there must be a certain elasticity. Is not the principle accepted that in the long run a seven days' week does not increase production?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I accept that, but assuming that a new type is coming out, if it is possible, by asking the men at the retooling period to go all out, to reduce the re-tooling period by a month, it makes a tremendous difference to production. I cannot give a definite and firm answer, as the circumstances are constantly under review.