HC Deb 23 May 1946 vol 423 cc535-6
65. Mr. Erroll

asked the Minister of Labour whether members of the staff of his Department and trade union officials are consulted in connection with the Board of Trade's experimental spinning processes at the Wye mill; and to what extent the continuance of the experiments depends on their agreement that they shall continue

Mr. Isaacs

The investigations and experiments at Wye No. 2 Mill at Shaw are conducted under the auspices of the Cotton Board and not of the Board of Trade. The experiments are supervised by a committee representing employers' and workers' organisations, and the continuance of the experiments, naturally, depends on the harmonious cooperation of the two sides of the industry.

Mr. Erroll

Is it not a fact that one reactionary trade union official, by his obstructive tactics, has stopped all experimental work at this mill?

Mr. Isaacs

No That is not the proper construction to put on the negotiations proceeding on this experimental work.

Mr. Sutcliffe

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that no experimental work took place at this mill, which is in my constituency, owing to the actions of the trade unions which refused absolutely to cooperate? No experimental work has been started.

Mr. Isaacs

I have indicated that there was some difficulty in the beginning. The unions wanted some understanding and guarantee about what was happening. But at the moment the thing is working harmoniously, and I hope that no word will be said to disturb the very harmonious working of this project.

71. Mr. Erroll

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many cotton operatives are at present retained at the Wye Mill in connection with his Department's experimental spinning processes; and what work they were engaged on during each of the last four weeks.

Mr. H. Morrison

I am informed by the management of the Wye Mill that the number of persons at work at the mill during the last four weeks was 405. These persons are engaged on all the normal processes of cotton spinning. The experiments being carried out at the mill under the auspices of the Cotton Board entail rearrangement of machinery and of machine staffing, rather than radical changes in the nature of the processes carried out

Mr. Erroll

In view of the fact that most people are very anxious to see this experiment continued and brought to a successful conclusion, will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that none of the staff will be withdrawn until the experiment is completed?

Mr. Morrison

I will certainly see that that point is considered.