HC Deb 02 July 1923 vol 166 cc35-6
67. Mr. N. BUXTON

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many farmworkers in Norfolk who were in employment prior to the recent strike are now out of work; and whether he is able to take steps towards securing their reinstatement?

68. Mr. HAYES

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that upwards of 1,000 farmworkers have not been reinstated since the settlement of the Norfolk farm dispute; and what steps, if any, he has taken to induce the farmers to honour the settlement agreement?


I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend has received from the National Union of Agricultural Workers a list of over 1,000 men who ceased work during the recent strike in Norfolk and who are alleged not to have been reinstated. An officer of the Ministry is inquiring into a number of these cases, particularly those where it is alleged that other men have been engaged in place of men who came out on strike, but the inquiries are not yet complete, though I am glad to say that in a number of instances men have been reinstated as a result of the efforts of the Ministry and the influence of the county branch of the National Farmers' Union. In some cases, however, the employers concerned are not members of the union and do not consider themselves bound by the terms on which the strike was settled, and in other cases modifications were made in the farming programme during the currency of the strike which have rendered it unnecessary to employ the same amount of labour as before. The inquiry by the Ministry is still proceeding, and no effort is being spared to secure an amelioration of the position.


Does the Minister hold that practically all the men will be reinstated?


Cannot the Minister indicate to the farmers that are not following the terms of the settlement that unless they do so they will not receive relief under the Agricultural Credits Bill when it becomes law?


I do not know whether that will be possible or not. Inquiry is being made by the Ministry, and no effort is being spared to secure an amelioration of the position.

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