HC Deb 03 April 1922 vol 152 cc1834-5
51. Mr. MILLS

asked the Prime Minister if his attention has been drawn to the existing dispute in the engineering trade; whether he is aware that, at a time when 90,000 engineers are receiving State aid because of lack of orders in the workshops of Britain, the employers claim the right to work an employé many hours over the normal working week; and whether the Government propose to take any action in this matter?


asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he is aware of the conditions laid down by the Engineering and Shipbuilding Employers' Federations before any resumption of negotiations can take place with the trades unions concerned in the present lock-out; whether, since the policy of the Engineering and Shipbuilding Employers' Federations will inflict great injury upon national interests in those industries and incite a continuance of industrial strife in the future, he can state if it is the intention of the Government to intervene to prevent a prolongation of the lock-out; whether he will institute a committee of inquiry in accordance with Part II of the Industrial Courts Act; whether he will advise a truce in the lock-out pending the findings of such a committee;

(2) whether it is the intention of the Government to intervene, under Part II of the Industrial Courts Act, with a view to terminating the present lock-out in the engineering, shipbuilding, and allied industries?

The MINISTER of LABOUR (Dr. Macnamara)

I have been asked to reply. With regard to the engineering dispute, I was able to arrange on Saturday a meeting between the employers' representatives and the Mediating Committee as a result of which a proposal has been submitted to a conference of representatives of the trade unions to-day. Discussion on this proposal is proceeding and I think that it would be inadvisable for me to make any further statement at the moment. In the case of the shipbuilding dispute, the result of the ballot has not yet been announced, and pending that I do not think I can make a statement on the future course of events.


Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to set up a committee of inquiry under Part II of the Industrial Courts Act, in view of the widespread opinion in the Press and of various writers that the action of the engineering employers is comparable with that of Bolshevist capitalists?