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Cut Out Pin-prick Summonses

1st May 1942, Page 35
1st May 1942
Page 35
Page 35, 1st May 1942 — Cut Out Pin-prick Summonses
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

DESPITE the exigencies of the times, prosecutions for technical offences GI ? trivial character are still being pursued. In this connection, Alderman Sir Harry Twyford is to be congratulated upon his welcome and outspoken remarks made during a recent hearing of motoring offences at the Guildhall. In the course of these remarks, Sir Harry accused the police of wasting the time of the court by taking out summonses for minor motor offences. Amongst the cases referred to were some in which it was alleged that speedometers were not in working order. It was stated in defence that, at the present time, it is impossible to obtain the necessary spare parts, and in this the clerk to the court evidently agreed, as he remarked: " It is perfectly ridiculous. to proceed in the matter of speedometers. Everyone knows the difficulty there is about them."

Surely, when people in authoritative positions express themselves so forcibly it is time that some definite action

be taken. As matters stand, the police are entirely within their right in instituting proceedings wherever and whenever there are breaches of the law, be they ever so trivial. Whether or not such a, course be expedient in war-time is another matter. If the powers that be refuse to allow any relaxation of the regulations so zealously enforced in peace-time in an effort to alleviate somewhat the difficulties of war-time conditions; there should be methods of securing the essential elasticity in procedure. Operators should not be pestered by the wasting of valuable time; nor should they be put to unnecessary expense by being called upon to defend summonses for minor technical offences that have no bearing upon nor relation to the war effort. It is a complete fallacy that road transport should be expected to function upon a peace-time basis under war conditions. It cannot possibly fulfil the multitudinous orders and regulations governing the use of motor vehicles.

Tyre Condition Due to War Problems It will be recalled that, in pre-war days, numerous summonses were issued in respect of the condition of tyres. For example, it was necessary only that a narroW piece of rubber breaker strip be discernible through the tread to warrant the issuing of a summons. The contention was that tyres in such condition constituted a danger to life and limb. In these cases, the defence frequently had to call upon technical experts as witnesses i.p order to prove, that the charges were groundless. Having regard to the difficulties obtaining to-day in the matter of rubber supplies—combined with the necessity of getting the last ounce of service from all tyres up to the limit permitting retreading—it is to be hoped that needless prosecutions will cease. Thus would be removed the ever-present feeling of apprehension experienced by operators.

Has not the M. of W.T. a moral responsibility to operators who are members of its own scheme and who, quite conceivably, might be served with summonses for offences of a minor character? In any such cases would the Ministry interest itself on behalf of members in an endeavour to effect withdrawal of the summonses? Recently there have come to my notice numerous instances in which employers have lost members of their

staffs simply because they were under a wrong imprecsion regarding the conditions gOveming deferments. For example, many thought that when once a period of deferment had been granted to an individual the concession became more or less permanent in character and that no further action need be taken at a Inter date. In such cases the result has been that, shortly after the expiry date of the deferment period enlistment notices have been received by the persons concerned. The facts of the matter are that whenever an extended period of deferment is desired a further form NS 300 should be submitted to the Ministry (:).1 Labour at least 21 days before the .expiry date of the current period. In no circumstances should the matter be delayed until the last moment; for it must be remembered that literally thousands of such applications are being dealt with continuously by the Man-power Boards. There is no limit to the number of applications for deferment which may be made in any individual case; and these, of course, are considered in the terms of circumstances prevailing.

The Deferment of Women Workers There would appear to be considerable apprehension regarding the position of women hi the matter of deferment; and particularly so in respect of office and administrative staff. This, no doubt, is due in some measure to lack of information. Primarily, applications for deferment apply only to females of the conscript ages, which—at present—are the 20 and 21 classes. The procedure to be followed is exactly the same as that employed in the case of men, except that where women are concerned form NS 300 W is used.

In instances where the retention of females other than those in the conscript classes is desired, representation should be made to the Women's National Service Officer for the district concerned, to whom full details should be submitted. It should be pointed out that, owing to the call for women for the Services and to meet the needs of war-production factories, only the most substantial appeals for deferment or retention are likely to be considered.

A further point in connection with deferments is one which, too frequently, is not regarded with the seriousness which it rightly deserves. It is the date of de-reservation, Under the NS 300 procedure de-reservation notices (NS 192) are issued to the individual and not to the employer. It is vital, therefore, that employers take steps to ensure that they are informed by their employees immediately such notice is received. Experience has proved that far too often employees do not inform their employers when they receive. the de-reservation notice. This may be due to forgetfulness. There. are instances where the official de-reservation notice is not received. In any such case it is essential that inquiries be made immediately at the Ministry of Labour. Otherwise an enlistment notice will, doubtless, be issued in due course.

It should be remembered that the Man-power Boards can consider only those cases for which form NS 300 has been lodged. Therefore, the need for the keeping of a complete and detailed record of all employees in this category cannot be too strongly emphasized.

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