HC Deb 01 November 1949 vol 469 cc181-2
15. Mr. Mellish

asked the Minister of Labour what action he is taking to settle the dispute between the management and workers of C. W. Martin & Co. of Bermondsey.

Mr. Isaacs

This dispute, which has resulted in a stoppage of work since 13th October, arises on a question of trade union membership. An officer of my Department has been in close touch with the parties, and further discussions with them are taking place today.

Mr. Mellish

Is my right hon. Friend aware that out of 450 employees 425 are members of this trade union, and that the employees have shown great tolerance for nine months in negotiating with the firm for their ordinary fundamental rights? Is this not a case where the employer is wrong and should be severely dealt with?

Mr. Isaacs

I do not know that we have any powers to deal severely with the employer. The fact that he is coming to the Ministry today may mean that he is being severely dealt with.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Is it not possible for the Department to inform this firm that all decent employers for a very long time have recognised trade unionists?

Mr. Isaacs

Probably that information will be imparted to them today.

Mr. Fernyhough

Does not my right hon. Friend think it is very strange that where there is a strike and the employers are wrong no publicity is given in the national Press, but that if the workers are wrong, it is put in the headlines?