HC Deb 06 July 1937 vol 326 cc171-2
45. Mr. Burke

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the Operative Cotton Spinners Association had difficulties for a considerable time with Messrs. Murgatroyd, Limited, Laurel Mill, Middleton Junction, Lancashire, regarding the conditions of their employés, which culminated in a strike on 6th June, 1936; that the firm entered into negotiations with the Spindles Board and consequently the mill and machinery have now been sold by auction by the board and the business terminated, thus depriving the employés of a remedy of their grievances and of their employment; and whether he will take steps to prevent the provisions of the Cotton Spinning Industry Act being used to circumvent the efforts of the trade union to secure proper conditions for their members?

Mr. Stanley

I am informed that when the Spindles Board negotiated for the purchase of the mill referred to by the hon. Member they had no knowledge of any dispute between the owners and employés. I understand that if a similar position arose in another case and it were brought to their notice, the Spindles Board would certainly consider whether, and to what extent, they could allow their statutory obligations to be affected by it.

Mr. Burke

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Spindles Board made a very handsome profit out of this deal, and that 300 employés have lost for ever their chance of getting employment in the cotton trade owing to the closing of this mill; and will he, therefore, consider the necessity of introducing into the Spindles Act and other contemplated legislation provisions for compensating employes with safeguards against legislation being used for strike breaking purposes?

Mr. Stanley

The last part of the supplementary raises a different question. What I am aware of is that there is a representative of the operatives upon the Spindles Board, and the board no doubt rely on him to let them know of any particular case where there is a trade dispute.

Mr. Petherick

Is not this Act an unfortunate example of Government interference with private enterprise?