44. Mr. West Russell
asked the Minister of Labour what is the present position regarding the dispute in the fishing industry at North Shields; how many men are affected; and whether he proposes to take any action towards a settlement?
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Lieut.-Colonel Muir-head)
It is understood that work has been resumed, and that a ballot is being taken by the union on the question of accepting the counter proposals of the owners or referring the matter to arbitration.
Is the Minister aware that on both sides of this dispute there is a strong feeling that unless early legislative action is taken by the Government not only will any settlement be purely temporary but the industry, which is an old native industry, will be lost to that Special Area; and will he consult with the Minister of Agriculture as to the action which has been promised and which is eagerly awaited as the one hope in a position which is regarded as almost desperate?