Royal Ordnance Factories.

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

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Photo of Sir Andrew Duncan Sir Andrew Duncan , City of London

These are committees composed of representatives of the workers and managements who give weekly, and sometimes daily, study to the records of those who are absent and try to discover why they have been absent—the whole object, of course, being to avoid prosecutions, because prosecutions are in the end the least satisfactory method of dealing with this subject—and to ensure that there is throughout the factory an understanding of the need of regular attendance if a smooth flow of work is to be maintained. I would like to recognise the help we have had from the district officials of trade unions who have lent their weight by addressing meetings in the canteens. I would like also to acknowledge the very great assistance we have had from a number of hon. Members who have taken special care of and interest in the factories within their constituencies. The Select Committee's observations on the whole range of this subject will receive most careful study, and in so far as we can benefit by the advice they give, we hope to do so. We had hoped that the initiation of a three-shift system in the filling factories and the lessening of hours generally would have given us greater relief on this question of absence from work than we have yet had from it. In 30 out of 42 factories the hours are 60 or less for men and 55 or less for women, and reduction to these standards will be achieved, I hope, in the remaining 12 factories within the next three months. I accept the rebuke which the Select Committee's Report administers. The Government certainly should be an example in these matters, and the standard having been accepted, we should work to it as faithfully as we can.