§ Mr. CLYNES
(by Private Notice) asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the breakdown in the protracted negotiations for the settlement of the dispute in the engineering and shipbuilding trades on the question of managerial functions and of the fact that shortly many additional thousands of workmen will be thrown out of employment with a consequent paralysis of industry, the Government will, in the public interest, now set up a Court of Inquiry under the Industrial Courts Act for the purpose of inquiring into the merits of the dispute?
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir J. NORTON-GRIFFITHS
(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour whether, he is in a position to make any statement as to the stage at which the engineering dispute has arrived?
His Majesty's Government have been most anxious that this calamitous dispute should, if possible, be settled by the parties themselves without Government interference, but the Government have throughout kept in touch with all parties to the negotiations, and have more than once succeeded in bringing them together again when a final rupture seemed inevitable.
The special dispute on wages in the shipbuilding trade appears now to be in course of settlement, a basis of agreement having been arrived at for submission to the members of the unions concerned.
No agreement has been reached, however, in the engineering trades on the questions related to managerial functions, and an extension of the lookout seems inevitable. In these circumstances, the Minister of Labour, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, has appointed Sir William Mackenzie to be a Court of Inquiry under Part II of the Industrial Courts Act, so that the public may have an independent account of the character and limits of the question or questions in dispute. Sir William 724 Mackenzie will hold a preliminary meeting to-morrow morning, and the parties have been asked to send representatives to the meeting.
§ Mr. CLYNES
Do the Government contemplate taking any action to cause a resumption of work and a continuance of work during the course of the inquiry?
There is no action which we can take with that object in view. That can only be done by the parties themselves getting together, and coming to some arrangement.