asked the Home Secretary to what extent the lengthening of the weekly hours of work to a 60-hour week by women on Civil Defence has resulted in a reduction of staff; whether he is aware of the overlapping caused and the difficulty experienced by women in shopping; and whether he will consider the possibility of making the hours alternately long and short in successive weeks?
Information is not yet available as to the reductions in staff that will be secured by the recent increase in the minimum stand-by duty hours for women. The paid establishments are now under review, and the longer minimum duty week for women will be taken into account. The system of shift working within the standard duty hours is fixed by the employing authority, who are, therefore, in a position to meet the reasonable personal needs of the members, so far as personal considerations can be allowed to interfere with the paramount operational needs of the services. Subject to this, there is no objection in principle to an alternation of long and short shifts, or any temporary leave of absence under proper safeguards to admit of necessary shopping. Whatever shift system is adopted, all personnel have at least one day of 24 hours free from duty in each week.