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War Economy

Other Industries

Other Industries

Losses suffered by other industries depended to a large extent on whether their occupations were regarded as sufficiently important to be listed as reserved or important occupations.

Transport and communications suffered severe losses of men to the forces. These losses were to some extent made good by recruitment of women, though the Railways did not find it so easy to use women as did the Post and Telegraph Department. Road transport drivers also became scarce as military needs competed directly with civilian services.

Pressure of defence construction work and losses of men to the forces increased the labour difficulties of the building and construction industry. By November 1941 the industry generally was working a forty-five to fifty-four hour week.2 Difficulties were accentuated when the entry of Japan into the war in December 1941 gave urgency not only to local defence works but also to the mobilisation of all possible manpower for the home forces. It was evident that the Government could not for much longer delay taking power to direct men into essential industries.

2 Parliamentary Paper H-11a, Report of the National Service Department, 1946, p. 39.