Cotton Industry (Shopping Time).

Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort. – in the House of Commons on 29th January 1942.

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Mr. Rostron Duckworth:

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the influence which is exerted on the working of overtime in the cotton mills by the difficulties of shopping; and whether he will consult with the Home Office with a view to evolving some better scheme than now exists for meeting both national and individual requirements in this respect?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I am not aware of the specific difficulty to which my hon. Friend refers, although the officers, of my Department are in constant touch with this problem. If he will let me have particulars of the case he has in mind, I will look into it.

Mr. Duckworth:

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his reply, may I ask whether he has received any reports of the suggested conferences between his local officers, the Ministry of Food, employers of labour and other interested parties, and will he emphasise still more fully the urgency of satisfactory arrangements being made to remove these great difficulties encountered by the working women in their shopping?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I have arranged for constant conferences to go on in the different regions of the country in connection with this shopping problem. The problem varies from town to town and from district to district, and I have to make the arrangements flexible.

Miss Ward:

Have any plans resulted from these conferences which can be applied in general?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

No, Sir, I am afraid they cannot be applied in general, because the conditions differ so much. The cotton trade at the moment have agreed to work certain overtimes and the result of that agreement makes an immediate adjustment of shopping arrangements.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Will the Minister take care in handling this problem to see that, in trying to assist workers in other occupations, shop assistants are not required to work long hours?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The conference is between representatives of the district councils, and unions are represented on the new machinery which I have set up all over the country.