HC Deb 23 September 1943 vol 392 c366
28. Major Conant

asked the Minister of Labour whether he contemplates any action against individuals or associations organising, in war-time, strikes unsupported by the appropriate unions, designed to exact an amendment of the law or withdrawal of an Order in Council?

Mr. Bevin

I have certain powers to deal with individuals who take part in a strike in connection with a trade dispute or who absent themselves from work without good cause, and I am ready to use those powers in appropriate cases according to the particular circumstances. Strikes of the kind to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers definitely impede the war effort. If necessary, the law will have to be strengthened.

Major Conant

Will my right hon. Friend, in addition to using such powers as he has, suggest to the official unions in these industries that they should regard men who take part in unofficial strikes in the same light as they do those who refuse to take part in official strikes by the unions?

Mr. George Griffiths

In making these inquiries, will my right hon. Friend go deeply into the question of whether the strike arises from the manager mis-managing the concern?

Mr. Bevin

The point is that in this country there has been built up joint machinery, through which practically every grievance in industry can be dealt with, and unofficial strikes are definitely impeding the war effort, and going a long way towards destroying the effectiveness of the unions themselves.

Mr. Cocks

In what way can my right hon. Friend take action against a body of 15,000 or 16,000 men on strike?

Mr. Bevin

I am not suggesting that, but I think something should be done against those who for the moment supersede the executive and disregard instructions.

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