HC Deb 12 February 1951 vol 484 cc35-6
Mr. Churchill by Private Notice

) asked the Minister of Labour whether he has any statement to make on the present situation in the docks.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Aneurin Bevan)

There has been an improvement in the situation this morning. The number of men at work in London has increased by 1,150 making a total of 18,500 men at work. I understand that at a meeting of the men in London this morning it was unanimously decided to resume work tomorrow.

Mr. Mellish

Is the Minister aware that, as a result of the action taken over the weekend, whereas previous unofficial strike leaders have been completely humiliated and defeated by the men themselves, these leaders have been placed on a pedestal, and the men have said that they are going to come out again next Tuesday?

Mr. Bevan

It is almost impossible to determine what is the nature of the decision which they have made about next Tuesday, but I should like to inform my hon. Friend that as long as a fortnight ago I had started discussions with the Joint Consultative Committee of the National Joint Advisory Council about the operation of Order 1305, and there is to be another meeting on the 28th February to further consider the matter.

Mr. McCorquodale

In view of the prolonged nature of the stoppage on Merseyside, where the position is apparently no better, is the right hon. Gentleman considering taking steps to preserve the national interest there?

Mr. Bevan

My information is that the men on Merseyside decided to await the decision of the London dockers, and I assume that now that the London dockers have decided to return to work, there will be a resumption of work at Manchester, Liverpool and Birkenhead.

Mr. Collick

Does not the Minister think that it was very ill-advised for the arrest of the unofficial strike leaders to have been made at a time when the strike was about to collapse?

Mr. Bevan

It is impossible for any Member of this House to comment on proceedings now before the court.