§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade a question, of which I have given him private notice: Whether he is aware that after protracted negotiations a settlement has been effected between representatives of certain railway companies and the men; further, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that such settlement covers almost 90 per cent. of the railway companies in Great Britain, the most notable exceptions being the Scottish railway companies and the Great Northern Railway Company; and, having regard to the strenuous efforts made by the men's organisations to ensure industrial peace at this critical period, will His Majesty's Government take steps to insist that those companies not parties to the settlement will immediately accept same, and so prevent the possibility of a dispute that must inevitably arise failing such a course being adopted? I should add, Mr. Speaker, that since framing the question the Great Northern Railway Company has decided to accept the settlement, therefore my question only applies to tae Scottish companies.
I am glad to say that a settlement of this difficult question has been reached between a majority of the big railway companies and the railway-men's organisations. On both sides there has been evidence of a genuine desire to reduce friction and to settle disputes amicably during these critical times. I hope that the companies which are not yet parties to the arrangement will by separate negotiation reach an early agreement.
Mr. TYSON WILSON
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether that statement covers the case of the clerical stall of the railway companies?
I should require to have notice of that question; but as at present advised I do not think it does.