| Retention of young men in the boot factories while older men are being called into the Forces was condemned by Ald. A. C. Allen (president) at Monday’s meeting of the Rushden Branch, Boot Operatives’ Union.
It was reported that a man aged at least 43, who was a grandfather and fought in the last war, had been called up from a Rushden factory where younger men remained on the same operation in the same department.
Mr. Allen told the meeting that there was a local panel covering the Rushden area, with Wellingborough and Raunds, which advised the Ministry of Labour about call-ups, but had no control at all over military call-ups. All it could do was to advise the Ministry over releases, dealing with general principles, but not with particular cases.
More than 18 months ago the panel recommended that all men who were under 30 at registration should be taken out of the industry. They afterwards advised that all up to 35 should be taken.
Still at Home
The Ministry of Supply intervened, however, and men up to 35 were retained. Up to last week some men registered under the age of 30 were still being retained.
This, continued Mr. Allen, was due entirely to the fact that firms here and there had used “backstairs” methods with the Ministry of Supply to secure the deferment of these young people.
Observing that the local panel consisted of people who knew the industry well, Mr. Allen declared that the Ministry of Supply had no technical knowledge of the industry.
The meeting expressed strong criticism of the Government’s actions, and in the case of the Rushden workman aged 43 Mr. Allen has decided to approach W/Cdr. A. W. H. James, M.P. for the Wellingborough Division.