Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the very great danger involved, and will he also recollect the frightful examples in the Low Countries of persons who were believed to be perfectly friendly but who, when the Germans marched in, were found to be very much otherwise?
I am not proposing to institute any such prohibition, but to check abuse I propose in the forthcoming Order to include a provision establishing a record of substitutes which will be open to inspection by the local authority or the appropriate authority for the premises.
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the effect on production of the additional strain of fire-watching on people who have given the maximum output for two, three or four years, increased by the geographical situation of many establishments, causing workpeople to travel two and three hours a day in addition to their working hours; that in one area men and women who leave home at 6.30 a.m. and return at 8 p.m. are being called upon to do fire-watching, including a lady working these hours with a child one year old; and if he will reconsider the policy as applied to the industrial workers and issue advice to the workpeople stating clearly their duties and rights?
I recognise that fire prevention is in a number of cases a burden on those concerned, but it is a duty which must be discharged by the people of this country to repel attacks by fire. There is a special provision in the Orders by which exemption may be granted to men regularly engaged on vital work for exceptionally long hours in industrial premises, and to women regularly engaged on work for exceptionally long hours. Any worker who considers his or her case is such that it would be an exceptional hardship to be required to perform fire prevention duties is entitled to apply to a tribunal for exemption. Any woman with a child of under 14 living with her is entirely exempt.
Very clear advice has been issued as to their duties and equally clear advice as to their rights. Moreover, the trade union organisations represented on my Advisory Council have themselves issued very clear advice to their members. I do not think my hon. Friend need be under any misapprehension on the point.