HC Deb 13 August 1896 vol 44 cc751-2

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether his attention has been drawn to the recent strike at Messrs. Thorny-croft's works at Chiswick; whether he is aware that it has proved most disastrous to that firm, coming at a time when they were exceptionally busy on contracts; that, in consequence also of the delay in the construction of torpedo boat-destroyers, they lost orders for the refitting of vessels with their water tube boilers; and that recently, when the Swedish Government required a torpedo boat-destroyer, they rejected the tenders of six English firms in favour of one from a German firm, in consequence of the absence from the latter of the strike clause, embodied in the others; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will take these facts seriously into consideration, with a view to inserting a clause in the Conciliation Bill or the Arbitration Bill by which workmen will not leave their work pending the consideration and decision of the matters in dispute?


I am aware that a dispute has recently taken place at Messrs. Thornycroft's works between two classes of workmen. I am glad to learn, however, that not only has the dispute been now amicably settled by the arbitration of Sir Benjamin Baker, but the two trade societies concerned are now negotiating with a view to arrive at a permanent arrangement to obviate all such disputes in future. As the hon. Member is doubtless aware, the Conciliation Bill of this Session has already received the Royal Assent, and such a clause as he suggests cannot, therefore, be inserted in it.