HC Deb 04 February 1926 vol 191 cc314-5
59. Mr. T. KENNEDY

asked the Prime Minister whether he has received any communications from individual members of the public, or public bodies, urging him to re-establish the normal working of the Merchant Shipping (Wireless Telegraphy) Act, 1919, and to set up a Court of Inquiry into the facts of the marine wireless dispute; whether he will give the number of such communications he has received; the number of persons represented by those communications; and whether he proposes to comply with the request contained in those communications?

128. Mr. GROVES

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the large number of recent marine casualties and incidents necessitating the use of wireless, the imperative need for an efficient wireless service at sea, and the present state of the service calling for the closest possible inquiry and investigation, he will state his reasons for refusing a special Court of Inquiry?

130. Mr. W. BAKER

asked the Minister of Labour what action the Government propose to take failing a speedy agreement between the parties to the marine wireless dispute?


Some communications of the kind referred to have been received, but I cannot say how many persons they represent. The point as to the application of the Merchant Shipping (Wireless Telegraphy) Act is being dealt with by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade in reply to other questions. At no time during this dispute have negotiations broken down, and the parties are still in communication. In the circumstances, the question of appointing a Court of Inquiry does not arise. In any case, a Court of Inquiry, under Part II of the Industrial Courts Act, 1919, is not an appropriate tribunal for an investigation of the type which the hon. Member for Stratford (Mr. Groves) has in mind.


May I ask if the service of wireless operators is a statutory provision under this Act, and whether the provisions are not now suspended; and may I ask the Prime Minister if he has considered the propriety of violating an Act of Parliament in the interests of one party to a trade dispute?


With regard to the first part of the supplementary question, it should be addressed to the President of the Board of Trade.


Can the hon. Gentleman tell us if there is any prospect of these negotiations coming to a conclusion at an early date?


It is our hope that these negotiations will be concluded at no distant date.


May I ask whether, as a matter of fact, it is not true that negotiations have been suspended, and that that is the result of the impossible terms stated by the ship owners?


No, Sir. The parties were actually at the Ministry of Labour yesterday, and they are still in contact.