Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

War Economy

Pressure of Work in the Radio Industry

Pressure of Work in the Radio Industry

War demands were to put the radio industry under extreme pressure.2 Though some specialised equipment was made in the early war years, it was not until 1942 that a substantial Army order for a general purpose transceiver3 brought this industry into large-scale war production. Precision output was required, and speed of production was here again a major consideration. The Controller of Radio Production, Mr R. G. Slade, soon found it necessary to resort to what he called the ‘efficiency destroying cost-plus system.’ One is left in little doubt about the Controller's attitude to the looseness in wartime contracts, but, because of lack of stocks of equipment and uncertainties about the continuing flow of supplies from overseas, there were few instances where the more normal tender system could have been successfully applied.

In the radio industry a rather tighter control over cost-plus contracts seems to have been established, with the result that there were apparently fewer abuses than in some other industries. One firm which came under the notice of the Audit Office and the Treasury had succeeded in 1943–44 in making a net profit amounting to 34 per cent on capital employed, mostly from fixed price contracts, but this seems to have been an exceptional case.4

An interesting feature of the industry, which probably accounts in large measure for the comparatively small amount of profiteering in it, was the virtual prohibition of civilian work after June 1942. The Radio Manufacturing Control Notice, 1942,5 then provided that ‘… no person shall manufacture, whether for sale, for other disposal, or in pursuance of a contract for manufacture, any radio receiving apparatus except in pursuance of a contract made on behalf of His Majesty for the supply to His Majesty of radio receiving apparatus for military purposes.’

page 355

Though some exceptions were made to this rule, the restriction on private work was more severe than in most other industries.

2 See also pp. 1678.

3 A small portable radio receiver and transmitter, known as a ZC 1.

4 There was considerable negotiation over one of this firm's contracts where the price was 3 3/4 times the pre-war imported price. It was eventually reduced to 2 ½ times the prewar imported price. This price the Controller considered still too high, but he was refused access to cost records.

5 This Order was designed primarily to preserve stocks of components. See also p. 167.