Women Personnel (Hours of Duty).

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Defence. – in the House of Commons on 29th January 1942.

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Photo of Mr Henry Brooke Mr Henry Brooke , Lewisham West

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that in some Civil Defence services women are required to go on duty for two 24-hour shifts per week, including sleeping time, and that is treated as a full week's work; and will he arrange for this wasteful use of woman-power to be brought to an end?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I am not aware of anything corresponding to a general practice to this effect; indeed, in the National Fire Service and in the local authority Civil Defence services generally a more exacting system of working hours for whole-time women personnel has obtained. I am, therefore, looking into the question of making further economies in woman-power by putting a stop to arrangements of the kind to which my hon. Friend has drawn attention.

Photo of Mr Henry Brooke Mr Henry Brooke , Lewisham West

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the real trouble is not the 24-hour shift, but the fact that when he has laid down 48 hours per week as a minimum some local authorities are interpreting that as a maximum, which means that in order to keep a post requiring four women staffed day and night throughout the week 14 women have to be mobilised?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

That is one of the points I am keeping in mind.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the women in some of these services suffer very much from enforced idleness and boredom during their hours of duty, and is it not desirable even with their present hours and essential if those hours are extended that they should be enabled to do munitions or other useful work during their hours of duty?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

Unnecessary boredom is to be deprecated, and I can assure my hon. Friend that I will do my best to prevent it.