asked the Minister of Labour (1) what representations have been officially made to him by bodies representative of black-coated workers and their employers such as chambers of commerce, regretting the monopoly of Employment Exchange envisaged under the Employment of Women (Control of Engagement) Order No. 100, and asking for its immediate cessation coincident with the cessation of hostilities; and
(2) whether, as the measures restrictive of the normal operation of private employment agents are due to war-time emergency, he will give an assurance of postwar restoration of the status quo as regards employment agents as has been done in the case of trade unions?
I received a letter last December from the London Chamber of Commerce, which did not contest the need for the Order, but expressed the hope that an assurance could be given that the status quo would be restored at the conclusion of hostilities, and that meanwhile some means might be devised for utilising the services of the private employment agencies. The reply made to the Chamber stated that the Order would cease to have effect at the end of the war unless Parliament otherwise determined and that the Minister could not, at this date, bind him- self or his successors on questions of postwar policy. The reply further stated that the employment agencies to be approved under the Order would in general be those which specialise in placing women with recognised professional or technical qualifications and when assistance is necessary to ensure that such women are placed to the best advantage in the national interest.
Is it not reasonable that these private organisations should have the same undertaking given to them as has been given to the trade unions, to restore their practices when the war is over?
The question of what is to happen to all these things after the war depends on the end of the Defence of the Realm Regulations. Beyond that I cannot commit Parliament.