§ 79. Mr. MARRIOTT
asked the Minister of Labour whether the employés of Messrs. Roberts and Company, Horbury Junction, are on strike in consequence of their refusal either to allow demobilised soldiers and sailors to work alongside the members of the Railway Vehicle Builders' Union or to join the union; and what action he has taken or proposes to take in order that the repairing of railway wagons may not be held up?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Mr. Wardle)
A strike has occurred at the works named, because the firm introduced certain unskilled ex-Service men on skilled work without previous arrangement with the trade union concerned. I am not aware that the question whether the ex-Service men should join the union has been raised. The Interim Industrial Reconstruction Committee for the industry, who have been consulted about the employment of ex-Service men, did not support the firm's action. I have put before the union a proposal agreed with the firm as to the conditions under which ex-Service men shall undertake the work proposed in this firm.
§ Mr. MARRIOTT
May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether, as a matter of fact, ex-Service men are at present engaged in the making and repairing of wagons, and are the only people who are engaged in this work?
§ Mr. MARRIOTT
May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he heard the statement of the President of the Board of Trade on Monday, giving one of the causes for the limitation of output in the mines as the shortage of these wagons, and is he aware that at the present moment 25,000 wagons are awaiting repair in the various shops?
§ Mr. WARDLE
I quite agree that there is a shortage of wagons, and that that is a very great problem, but we are doing our very utmost to get a settlement of this dispute.
§ Major E. WOOD
Is he also aware that great complaints have been made as to the serious delay in his Department in dealing with this matter?