HC Deb 13 April 1937 vol 322 cc796-7
Mr. Maclean

(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that over 12,000 apprentices are on strike in the Clyde area for a revision of rates of pay during their apprenticeship; whether he is aware that the employers refuse to meet representatives of the Clyde District Committee of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions to negotiate an agreement on behalf of the apprentices, whether he is aware that, failing such agreement, the Clyde District Committee have decided to call a one day strike of all engineering and shipbuilding employés in the Clyde Area on Friday, 16th April, to be followed by a stoppage of all overtime during the continuation of the apprentices' dispute, and whether, in view of the dislocation of National work which such action entails, he proposes to take any action?

Mr. E. Brown

Representatives of the unions and of the apprentices and boys have met an officer of my Department and a communication has been addressed to the employers' associations. In the circumstances I prefer to say nothing more at the moment.

Mr. Maclean

May I ask, if it is not a breach of confidence, whether the right hon. Gentleman can state to the House the nature of the communication which has been sent?

Mr. Brown

I prefer not to do so at the moment.

Mr. Buchanan

Can the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the serious state that will arise on Friday, see his way to make a statement on the position either to-morrow or on Thursday?

Mr. Brown

I prefer to say nothing now. I will, of course, give the House the earliest information possible.

Mr. Leonard

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the fact that it is the practice for every organisation of employers in Great Britain to recognise this kind of negotiation covering apprentices and that these employers are the only ones in Great Britain that refuse such recognition?

Mr. Brown

If the hon. Member cares to look at the form of my answer, he will see that I covered the whole ground in reference to the representatives of the union and of apprentices and boys and employers' associations.