HC Deb 14 February 1924 vol 169 cc1000-1

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to threats of strikes in more than one important industry; and whether he proposes setting up machinery to deal with trade disputes at their inception with the view of avoiding recurrent menaces to a revival of enterprise and securing a return to normal business conditions?

51. Mr. PENNY

asked the Prime. Minister, whether, in view of the loss to the country and the inconvenience to many sections of the community, and resultant unemployment in other industries caused by the recent strike of a particular group of railway engineers, he will revive the provisions of the Defence of the Realm Act making such acts illegal; and whether he will introduce legislation making it compulsory upon all parties concerned in any industrial dispute to accept an unanimous decision of a representative arbitration board or court of inquiry, and making the act of striking after such decision has been given punishable by law?


The Government do not propose to introduce legislation on the lines suggested. With regard to compulsory arbitration, this question was considered by the Committee of Employers and Employed, over which Mr. Speaker presided and after full consideration, was rejected. I think that the consensus of industrial opinion is that compulsion in this matter is impracticable. I am of opinion that, apart from compulsory arbitration, the Industrial Courts Act provides the necessary powers for dealing with industrial disputes.