§ 56. Mr. C. DUNCAN
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the provision in the Munitions of War Act that cases of industrial differences should not be carried to the length of a lock-out or strike, but should be referred to arbitration; whether he is aware that in several cases the War Office, the Admiralty, and the Ministry of Munitions have refused to agree to the demands of sections of workmen for claims to be submitted to arbitration; and whether he can take any steps to secure that the policy for the avoidance of disputes enforced upon private employers of labour shall also be carried out by the various Government Departments?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The Crown not being expressly named in the Munitions of War Act, 1915, is not as a matter of law bound by its provisions. There is a special machinery for settling such questions in the dockyards to which it seems desirable to resort in the first instance. There are other cases in which it is practically impossible to arbitrate in regard to isolated classes without reference to the interest of others. It is quite recognised that subject to exceptional cases the spirit of this provision of the Act should be observed by Government Departments.