HC Deb 22 March 1948 vol 448 cc2547-8
8. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Works whether he will make a statement about the strike of industrial employees in his Department.

9. Captain John Crowder

asked the Minister of Works if he has any statement to make on the unofficial strike of the maintenance men employed by his Department in the Palace of Westminster and other Government establishments.

Mr. Key

I am glad to say that the men have resumed work.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Will the Minister use whatever influence he may have in the matter to ensure that the further negotiations are not unduly protracted, either by the representatives of the trade unions or anyone else concerned in the matter?

Mr. Key

Certainly there is going to be no undue protraction. I understand the trade union representatives and the Minister of Labour are meeting this afternoon.

Captain Crowder

In view of the fact that these employees have been asking to have their wages reviewed for the last 18 months, could the Minister ask his Department to keep in closer touch with their employees?

Mr. Key

There is some misunderstanding in regard to the 18 months. As a matter of fact, a formal application was only submitted in January of this year.

Mr. Somerville Hastings

Can the Minister say when the boilers are to be relighted?

Mr. Key

The boilers have been relighted, and hot water will come on between four and five o'clock this afternoon.

Mr. W. J. Brown

Wherever the responsibility lies for the long delay in this case, if it be the case that something like 18 months have elapsed since this matter was first raised, is it not possible for the Government to impress upon trade unions and Government Departments alike the necessity for the urgent treatment of such claims?

Mr. Key

Certainly. It would help particularly if the trade union organisations themselves formulated their request at a rather more rapid rate than was done in this particular case.

Mr. Driberg

Could my right hon. Friend say what the average wage of these men has been?