§ Mr. HAROLD SMITH
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether on 21st August last an official statement was issued to the Press, on behalf of the Board, announcing that assurances had been given by the representatives of the railway companies and those of the trade unions that they would accept the findings of the Railway Commission; whether such announcement was correct; and whether representatives of various unions have repudiated the accuracy of the announcement so far as the unions are concerned?
§ Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
asked whether before the recent Railway Commission was appointed the workmen agreed to accept the findings of the Commission; if so, when was such agreement arrived at; and who entered into the agreement as representing the workmen?
I will answer this question and that of my hon. Friend the Member for South Carnarvonshire together. An official statement was issued to the Press on 19th August, at the conclusion of the negotiations with the representatives of the railway companies and the representatives of the trade unions of railway employés, and I have nothing to add to it. I have received no communication from any of the parties concerned with regard to the accuracy of the official statement.
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that no signatory to that settlement on the men's side was ever asked any such question, and therefore could not answer; and, further, whether he is aware that every member who signed that agreement has since repudiated the suggestion that they ever entered into any such arrangement?
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
May I ask whether it is the case that he gave an assurance to the directors of the railway companies concerned or the managers, that the men had agreed to abide by the result?
As far as the occurrences during the course of the discussion they were obviously of a confidential nature, and it would be impossible to make any statement with regard to them. I have given an answer which covers the notices to the Press, and I do not think I can be usefully asked to give any further information.
§ Lord CLAUD HAMILTON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the official organ of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, namely, the "Railway Review," dated August 25th this year, stated, after giving an account of the appointment of the members of the Royal Commission:Assurances have been given by both parties that they will accept the findings of the Commission.
I have given the answer from the point of view of the Board of Trade of the official position we have taken up, and are bound to take up, in regard to this matter. I have nothing to add to that.