Royal Ordnance Factories.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 5th August 1942.

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With regard to the labour requirements of these factories, there has been from the beginning until to-day the closest possible liaison with the Ministry of Labour. It is through the Ministry of Labour that we find our personnel for these factories and it is to the Ministry of Labour that we intimate as far ahead as it is possible to do that, owing to changes in programme or for any other reason, releases of labour will be possible when such releases are likely to take place. In regard to the question of miners at one of the factories named in the Report, I would like to make it clear, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour stated in answer to a Question yesterday, that right at the beginning all ex-face workers below the grade of supervisor engaged in our Royal Ordnance factories were made available to the Ministry of Labour when their transfer back to the mines was wanted. However, a great many of them—in fact, it would be fairer to put it the other way and say very few of them—were found to be within the physical age and other qualifications necessary for their return to the mines. Nevertheless, in accordance with the Select Committee's recommendation, we, with the Ministry of Labour, are prepared to accept the view that there should now be a joint survey, in detail, of these factories. We must not lose any chance of looking into things thoroughly. We have also asked the Ministry of Labour to join with us in investigating the question of the dilution and employment of women which, also, was a recommendation of the Select Committee.