Redundancy – Standard Motors 1956

An excerpt from the House of Commons relating to redundant workers at Standard and their efforts for new employment.

14 June 1956
Mr. Moss asked the Minister of Labour how many of the workers declared redundant at the Standard Motor Company, Coventry, have been found other employment and whether such employment has been found locally.

Mr. lain Macleod So far, nearly 300 workers are under submission for other jobs; 212 in their home areas and 79 in other areas, some of which are within daily travelling distance. Of the 1,325 redundant workers, about 977 have registered for employment, and 700 claims to benefit have been traced. I assume that the others are expecting to find or have found their own jobs.

Mr. Moss Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that employment exchanges are telling workers that they cannot be placed and are advising them to look for jobs themselves? Is he aware that these men are looking for jobs themselves, at least in Rugby, Birmingham, Bristol and Gloucester? I understand that one worker was even advised about a job in New Zealand. Is it not becoming increasingly apparent that the introduction of automation will be eased only if redundancy is anticipated and the closest co-operation takes place both with the 736 workers and the right hon. Gentleman’s Department.

Mr. Macleod I entirely agree with the second part of the hon. Member’s supplementary question. I have said over and over again—and I am delighted to say it once more—that from the very first time that any change, whatever it may be, is planned which may have an effect upon the size of the labour force, the trade unions should be brought into consultation. If there has to be a reduction in the size of the labour force it is of great importance that my Department be called in well before any change takes place.

Mr. Lee Is any effort being made to analyse the type of worker who is now becoming redundant and to persuade employers of similar types, who could use these men, to go into the area?

Mr. Macleod Yes. A good deal of work is done in that respect. Vacancies are often circulated much more widely than in the immediate area and where the redundancy occurs. Many people who seek skilled and other labour have been and are making inquiries in the Midlands to see if they can offer suitable posts.

Mr. Usborne Has not the root cause of the trouble at Coventry stemmed from the fact that in the last four or five years the capital expansion of the motor industry has been quite fantastic? Ought not the Government to have foreseen this and prevented it from expanding so rapidly?

Mr. Macleod That is a remarkable piece of hindsight; it is terribly easy to say now, but I do not remember any Member of the Opposition saying it a year or more ago.

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