HC Deb 09 December 1947 vol 445 c841
35. Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Minister of Labour if the 1,000 Polish workers employed in the engineering industry, largely on making coal-cutting machinery, whose trade union cards were taken away from them last summer, have now had them restored; what result his negotiations and representations on the subject have had; and if he can yet state the reasons for this action.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Ness Edwards)

Whilst I cannot confirm the numbers mentioned, there is no change in the situation. No agreement had been reached with the union as to the circumstances under which Polish labour should be introduced in the occupations with which they are concerned. I am still in communication with the union, with whom I have discussed certain suggestions which they have promised to consider.

Sir J. Lucas

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that I raised this question in July and August, that on each occasion I was promised an answer, and that the Minister has strongly deprecated the action of the unions? Surely, the unions take some notice of the Minister? What is the good of training these men for a job of work, if they are not allowed to do it?

Mr. Ness Edwards

Fourteen of the unions in the Engineering Federation have now agreed. Six are still considering the matter. The fact that there is no Pole unemployed because of the failure to get an agreement ought to be satisfactory to the House.

Mr. Osborne

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say which are the six unions concerned?

Mr. Ness Edwards

Not without notice.

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