Shipbuildingand Allied Industries (Women)

Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort – in the House of Commons on 15th October 1942.

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Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

asked the Minister of Labour whether the programme for employing women in the shipbuilding and allied industries is now in operation; and whether he will now instruct employment exchanges to give the necessary green cards to women who have an offer of employment in a shipyard or workshop engaged in manufacture for the shipyards?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The answer to the first part of the Question is, "Yes, Sir." As regards the second part of the Question, it is not now necessary for women over the age of 30 to obtain green cards before taking employment. As regards others, I cannot undertake that green cards would be issued irrespective of circumstances, since this would destroy all control over the supply of labour, but they are given in all proper cases.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

Is the Minister not aware that even last week girls who had received an offer of employment in the shipyards and who went for green cards were refused green cards or were given them only as temporary workers? These girls come of shipbuilding families. Will he not reconsider his answer?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

No, Sir; the point raises the whole basis of our man-power policy, and I cannot make exceptions. I must have the use of the mobile women, and men, in the districts where they are most urgently needed.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

Has the Minister himself, or those for whom he is responsible, not stated, in a leaflet issued by the Ministry, that the demand for female labour in the heavy industries has practically been met? Therefore, why should this policy be contiaued? The leaflet relates to "Wartime employment of women in shipbuilding and allied industries." It was issued by the Ministry in last week's "Ministry of Labour Gazette."

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I am not aware of the leaflet without looking at it; our Department, like others, issues so many of them. But I repeat, with emphasis, that on this question of utilising the mobile personnel of the country in places where preference and priorities are decided, I cannot yield on that point.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

I understood the Minister to say that this refers only to women under 30. Is he aware that women over 30 have been refused the green card in Glasgow for engineering work? Would he not reconsider the case of women over 30 in this matter?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

If the hon. Member will, send me particulars of cases where this Regulation has not been properly carried out, I will look into them.