HC Deb 16 June 1898 vol 59 cc413-4
MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the workmen thrown out of employment by the South Wales coal dispute accepted his suggestion of April last, and when that suggestion had been declined by the employers they further conferred plenary powers upon their representatives; is he aware that at their meeting in Cardiff on Saturday last the emergency committee of the employers and the provisional committee of the workmen came to a deadlock, and that there is no immediate prospect of a settlement of the dispute, which has now lasted since March, and has led to the enforced idleness of 100,000 persons previously employed at the collieries of the Associated Coalowners, and also that of a large number of workmen at Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, and elsewhere; and.whether, in view of the disastrous effect the stoppage has had upon the trade of the district and the enormous public loss and suffering it entails, he will consider the urgent necessity of putting the provisions of the Conciliation Act, 1896, into force, or promptly taking other steps to bring the dispute to a speedy close?


I am aware of the matters referred to by the honourable Member, and I regret that the negotiations between the employers and the workmen's committee have not pursued a favourable course. I am deeply sensible of the disastrous effects of this prolonged strike, but I do not think that any intervention on my part at present would be favourably received, in view of the fact that no application under the Conciliation Act has been made to mo by either party.

MR. BRYNMOR JONES (Swansea District)

I beg to ask the right honourable Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department a Question, of which I have given him private notice—namely, is it the fact that Mr. I. Williams, the stipendiary magistrate for the Pontypridd petty sessional division, has received a letter from the justices of that division commanding him to instruct military detachments quartered in Glamorganshire, if necessary, to charge the crowds and use their bayonets, and also fire ball cartridge; also, are the officers in command of the troops bound to obey instructions from the civil authorities?


The honourable Gentleman's notice only reached me just now, and I have no information as to the fact he mentions. As to the second part of his Question, it is obvious I ought to have notice, in order to be able to give an accurate answer.


I will repeat the Question to-morrow.