HC Deb 04 February 1947 vol 432 cc1547-8
7. Professor Savory

asked the Minister of Labour how many strikes have occurred in Great Britain since the end of hostilities with Germany; how many of these strikes were unofficial; how many working days were lost in all these strikes; and how many working days were lost in unofficial strikes.

Mr. Isaacs

On the basis of reports received by my Department there have been 3,855 stoppages of work arising out of industrial disputes since 1st May, 1945, involving a loss of approximately 4¾ million working days. Most of the stoppages have been unofficial, but the information available does not permit a distinction to be made between these and official stoppages.

Professor Savory

May I ask how the right hon. Gentleman explains this very large proportion of unofficial strikes? Have the trade unions lost all control over their members, while maintaining such absolute control over His Majesty's Government?

Mr. Isaacs

As to the second part of the supplementary question, anybody with any commonsense knows that that is not a correct description. As to the first part, the evidence is that a great many of these unofficial strikes that have started are stopped and controlled by the unions, who get the men back to work.

Mr. Awbery

Is it not a fact that for a similar period after the last war 11,000,000 days were lost?

Mr. Isaacs

No, Sir. The fact is that for the similar period after the last war 43,750,000 days were lost.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why it is he cannot give us the number of unofficial strikes? Is it because the Government cannot distinguish between unofficial and official strikes?

Mr. Isaacs

Not in the least. But we get information of many of these strikes only when they have started and finished. Some last only an hour or two; but they are, in fact, strikes; but we know nothing about them until we get information from our regional offices. It is not then always possible to distinguish between what is an official and an unofficial strike.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister aware that after the last war there were a great many unofficial strikes, and very violent unofficial strikes, such as we have not had this time?

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