Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Dock Workers, Cardiff

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd July 1957.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan , Cardiff South East 12:00 am, 3rd July 1957

asked the Minister of Labour (1) how many dock workers were registered for employment at Cardiff in 1951 and 1957, respectively;

(2) the percentage of dock workers who, because of absence of employment at Cardiff docks, have had to prove attendance, at the latest available date.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

The numbers of dock workers on the Cardiff register at June, 1951, and at June, 1957, were 1,017 and 764, respectively. During the week ending 15th June, 1957, on an average approximately 12·4 per cent. of the dock workers proved attendance daily because work was not available.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan , Cardiff South East

Is the Minister aware that the last figure he has given is an underestimate of normal conditions in Cardiff, and that, yesterday morning for example, 65 per cent. of the dockers of Cardiff were out of work? Is he aware that this situation is of growing seriousness there, and that the men are really wondering whether they have any future at all, the difficulties of living on a guaranteed week of £5 14s. being such as to make things practically impossible for them?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

In view of what the hon. Member said, I will look at the numbers of those proving attendance over a longer period than I indicated in the Answer. As he knows very well, that figure fluctuates so much that the figure for any given day is not necessarily significant.

Photo of Mr Alfred Robens Mr Alfred Robens , Blyth

After the right hon. Gentleman has looked at it, if he finds that the trend is downwards, as appears to be the case from the 1951 figures which he gave, what action would he propose to take to bring more employment to the South Wales ports and to Cardiff in particular?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

The size of the labour force in a port is a matter for the National Dock Labour Board and not for my Ministry. If there is any way in which my colleagues in the Government can help after I have made the examination which I have undertaken to make, I will bring it to their notice.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

In view of the severe hardship which has been caused to families in Cardiff, will the Minister consult the President of the Board of Trade to see whether steps can be taken to improve the trade at Cardiff docks? It seems to me that there is a great indifference in the Ministries.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I think that is covered by the answer to the last supplementary question.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelli

Bearing in mind that for generations Cardiff, as a coal-exporting port, played a very big part in the economic life of this country, and bearing in mind that because of changed circumstances that trade has gone, is it not essential to attract new trade to Cardiff; and, as part of that plan, will the Minister discuss this matter with the Minister of Transport to find out whether an improvement in the road communications between Cardiff and the Midlands, in particular the Severn Bridge, in order to bring new trade to Cardiff, would be one of the ways in which this problem could be met?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

The question of communications is of first-rate importance in this matter, and I will not forget it.