34. Colonel THORNE
asked the Minister of Munitions whether he has issued an order to gasworks establishments to employ women labour in retort houses; if he is aware that the representative gas-workers' unions are strongly opposed to the introduction of women labour in retort houses on the ground that the work is not suitable for the sex; if he will undertake to consult workmen's organisations before issuing orders vitally affecting labour interests; and if he will take action in the matter?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
A circular, copies of which have been sent to the hon. and gallant Member, was issued recently to gasworks drawing their attention, in view of the increasing shortage of male labour, to the success which has attended the employment of women under suitable conditions in certain retort houses. I am aware that the General Workers' Union have taken exception to the introduction of women, and the Department have asked them to discuss the question. There has already been consultation on the subject with the workmen's organisations in various localities where the introduction of women into retort houses has been proposed or adopted.