§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it has been decided that contractors whose work has been delayed by a lock-out are entitled to the benefit of the Strike Clause?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN,) St. George's Hanover Square
The time for considering the application of the Strike Clause in the contracts is when the work contracted for is completed and when the question of enforcing, or not enforcing, penalties for delay has to be decided. But the question of the hon. and learned Member raises several interesting issues on which I recommend him to ponder. If a labour war commences with a strike on one side, which is followed by a partial lockout on the other side, is it to the lockout or to the strike that delay in work is due? If a firm locks out 25 per cent. of its men with the intention of carrying on its work with the rest, and if that rest, the 75 per cent., then go out on strike, is the resultant stoppage of work due to the lock-out or to the strike? Again, if there is no strike or lock-out in a shipbuilding yard, but work is delayed by the non-delivery of materials due to a strike or lock-out in some other quarter, what is the position of the ship building firm? Is it to be penalised? The hon. Member will see that the terms of his question raise no clear issue. But what is evident is that the fact of a lock-out having taken place in some quarters does not of itself deprive contractors of the benefit of the Strike Clause.