§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Perhaps the House will allow me to take this opportunity of asking the President of the Board of Trade whether he proposes to do anything in connection with the transport workers strike in the Port of London, and is he in a position to-night to make any statement upon the subject?
The Government are fully alive to the importance of immediate action in regard to the present industrial unrest on the Thames; they have determined to appoint forthwith a court to inquire and report into the facts and circumstances of the present disputes affecting transport workers in the Port of London and on the Medway.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
May I ask before the Court is decided upon will its policy be laid before the representatives of the men concerned in the dispute?
This is a matter on which the Government are watching the effect, and acting on their own responsibility. Pending the appointment of the Court, they have not consulted with the other side.
§ Mr. J. WARD
Is there any statutory authority for such a proceeding? Has a court on any previous occasion ever been constituted to consider a dispute of this description without at least a request on the part of either one side or the other?
This is a matter on which the Government must take the responsibility for appointing the Court itself. As a matter of fact, they have powers under Clause 2, Paragraph (a) of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act of 1906, to appoint such an inquiry as this.
§ Mr. J. WARD
Will the Court meet while the dispute is still pending, or is it expected that the constitution of the Court will end the dispute?
I stated in my answer that the Court is to inquire into and report on the facts and circumstances of the present dispute affecting transport workers in the Port of London and on the Medway.