Building Trade Employees.

Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort. – in the House of Commons on 23rd July 1942.

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Photo of Sir Robert Perkins Sir Robert Perkins , Stroud

asked the Minister of Labour how many men at present employed by builders in Gloucestershire on work of national importance does he propose to transfer from their existing employers to McAlpines, Wimpeys, Higgs and Hill, Costains, Gee Walker Slater, Taylor Woodrowe and Company, and other similar firms?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I regret that I am unable to give the detailed information asked for, but plans have been made to transfer labour from works of less importance to those which for reasons of strategy are of first urgency. The numbers of those to be transferred and the places to which they will be sent will depend on the incidence of the vacancies. Men who would otherwise be called up for military service will be used in present circumstances wherever the most urgent works require labour.

Photo of Sir Robert Perkins Sir Robert Perkins , Stroud

Is the Minister aware that the result of this scheme will be that many small builders will be compelled to shut up, and would it not be possible for these small men to be used as sub-contractors?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

That is a matter for the Minister of Works and Planning, but the scheme which I have now had to apply to accomplish urgent purposes which must be in the minds of hon. Members, involves taking labour immediately to get that job done.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Is the Minister aware that a number of men have been sent from Plaistow, West Ham, by the local employment exchange to work for McAlpines at Bath, and that they are only being paid 1s. 7½d. per hour, and have to keep two homes?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I suggest that the men should raise that matter with their union.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

Is the Minister aware that these contracts are placed by the Air Ministry without consulting the Ministry of Works and Planning? Will he look into that matter?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I am afraid that is not a matter for me. These questions should be addressed to the Minister of Works and Planning.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been drawn to a shortage of bricklayers, joiners and plumbers on the housing scheme at Dumbarton and to the shortage of joiners and builders' labourers on the housing scheme at Clydebank; and what steps he can take to meet the shortage?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I am having inquiries made and will communicate with my hon. Friend.