HC Deb 09 November 1944 vol 404 cc1511-2
7. Mr. Leslie

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the distributive workers would welcome legislation to fortify the joint industrial councils and buttress their decisions so as to prevent a return to the pre-war chaos, which resulted in low wages in many sections of the retail trades; and what action he proposes to take in this direction.

Mr. Bevin

I am aware of the views of the representatives of both employers and workers in the retail distributive trades on this question. As I informed my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Balham (Lieut.-Colonel Doland) on 26th October, I am at present considering what further provision should be made to meet the requirements of the post-war position, but I am not yet able to make a statement on the subject.

Mr. Leslie

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind what happened during the Armistice period after the last war, when thousands of shopworkers were paid such low wages that disputes occurred all over the country? Attempts were then made to set up trade boards but, unfortunately, those attempts failed.

Mr. Bevin

Yes, I will bear that in mind. As I say, I am studying the problem, and I hope at an early date to be in a position to make an announcement.

Mr. Rhys Davies

While we are glad that the right hon. Gentleman is considering this very important problem, may I ask that he will bear in mind also that a larger proportion of distributive workers than of workers from almost any other industry are in the Forces?

Mr. Bevin

I am aware of that fact.