§ 3. Major GRAHAM POLE
asked the Secretary of State for India if he will give information showing the number of employés in the superior, middle, and lower grades on the Indian railways who have been dismissed as a measure of retrenchment during the last three years?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Wedgwood Benn)
The information is not available in this country, but I will ask the Government of India whether they can supply it.
§ 4. Major POLE
asked the Secretary of State for India if he will give information in respect of the present position of the negotiations between the Railway Board and the All-India Railwaymen's Federation concerning the policy of retrenchment, involving the putting off of large numbers of the lower grade staff?
§ Mr. BENN
Discussions took place between the Railway Board and representatives of the Federation on 26th June and again on 7th July. These failed to resolve differences between the Federation and the Board and the former has issued a manifesto favouring a general strike on the railways and advising the affiliated unions to take a ballot on that issue. Seeing that there is little chance of lurther discussion between the Board and the Federation resulting in agreement the Government of India have decided that the facts in dispute should be immediately investigated by a Court of Inquiry under the Trade Disputes Act.
§ Mr. HANNON
Does that mean that the strike will not take place until the investigation has gone into the facts?