Denaby Reinstatement Case – I.C.I. Offer Reasonable

November 1945

South Yorkshire Times November 24, 1945

I.C.I. Offer Reasonable
Denaby Reinstatement Case

Considerable expansion at the Huddersfield and Manchester factories of I.C.I. were mentioned at Mexborough yesterday by Mr. J. M. Cooper, Deputy Divisional Labour Manager of the explosive division of I.C.I., at a hearing by Mexboro’ Reinstatement Committee.

A released soldier, formerly Company Sergeant Major Thomas McDermott, 6, Phoenix Street, Mexborough, had applied for reinstatement at the Denaby works of British Westfalite (I.C.I) Explosive Ltd., and as no post of a permanent nature was available he had been offered permanent employment at the Huddersfield factory. Ald. S. Hall (Rotherham) presided and sitting with him were Coun. T. W. Whipp, a member of the Insured Contributors’ Panel, representing the workers, and Mr. H. Hirst, manager of Goldthorpe Colliery, employers’ representative. Mr. W. E. Butler, manager, Denaby I.C.I. Works, was also present.

Applicant said he had been away six years and did not want to be separated again from his family, otherwise he did not suggest the offer of work was unreasonable.

Mr. Butler said the last Government contract finished on November 30th and he had further redundancies. The only thing he could have done was to have put McDermott in another man’s place and in three weeks or so he would automatically have become redundant.

Ald. Hall asked if applicant could have been reinstated in the position of a man junior to himself and Mr. Butler said that would have applied in one case only – the assistant storekeeper. Unfortunately, the latter had only three weeks to go and he had specialised knowledge which McDermott could not have learned in the time.

Applicant said he felt he could have done the assistant storekeeper’s job.

Pre-1937 Conditions.

Answering Mr. Hirst, Mr. Butler said their case was based on the fact that as they were having to revert to pre-1937 conditions, the number of employees had been considerably reduced. Men senior to McDermott had been discharged because of redundancy.

It was stated that the Company fully appreciated applicant’s viewpoint and sympathised with him. The housing problem was at the root of the trouble and if applicant could get a house he would no doubt consider the offer.

McDermott said he would more than consider it; he would accept it.

Mr. Cooper said he felt the housing problem was only temporary. Huddersfield and Manchester were two departments of I.C.I. That were going to expand in the absence of German competition.

McDermott said he was more interested in being with his family. There was a good deal of difference in being at home and coming home once a week. He felt the Committee was missing the point he had tried to stress. There were people in the Denaby factory capable of doing the work now done by the two drivers concerned; they should have gone to Huddersfield he felt it would be detrimental to him, which was contrary to what was laid down.

Mr. Cooper said he thought a regular week-end off for McDermott could be arranged at Huddersfield , and Mr. Butler added that his pension benefits would go with him.

Ald. Hall said in two earlier cases he had heard the applicants had not been met in such a reasonable manner as in this one. The Company were looking further ahead to applicant’s interests.

McDermott said they had led well sheltered lives. They knew nothing about being away from home when their families’ were growing up.

Mr. Cooper said he was prepared to discuss McDermott’s temporary arrangements with him to make his transfer as easy as possible.

The Committee decided that no Reinstatement Order be made and that no compensation be paid; they determined that the I.C.I. offer of permanent employment at the Huddersfield plant, carrying with it increased wages of not less than £5 12s. pension rights, lodging allowance of 35s. per week and an arrangement for applicant to get home at week-ends, complied with the requirements of the Act.