HC Deb 05 July 1951 vol 489 cc2464-5
1. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Labour how many working days were lost through industrial disputes officially notified during the five years ended December, 1950, and December, 1923, respectfully; and how many of these days were lost during the same periods in the industries now nationalised.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Robens)

The number of working days lost in stoppages of work arising from industrial disputes reported during the five years ended December, 1950, was about 9,730,000, and the number during the five years ended December, 1923, was about 178 million. In those industries which had been nationalised up to the end of 1950, the number of working days lost was about 3,770,000 during the five years ended December, 1950, and about 105 million during the five years ended December, 1923.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these figures, which show that the lost time in the nationalised industries is about one twenty-eighth of what it was, will be received with despair by those doubtful elements who continually belittle the post-war recovery of this country?

Mr. McCorquodale

Would the Minister now give us a fairer comparison, which is the number of strikes and days lost in the nationalised industries in the five years since the war, as against the number of days lost in the industries still under private enterprise?

Mr. Robens

If the right hon. Gentleman would care to put down a Question I should be very pleased to answer it. But the fact remains that there are fewer strikes in those industries which are now nationalised than there were when they were under private enterprise.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Yes, but is not one of the reasons why the right hon. Gentleman did not arm himself with the necessary figures to answer my right hon. Friend's supplementary question the fact that he knew that the record of the nationalised industries since the war would be shown up very badly?

Mr. Robens

No, Sir. I armed myself with the figures required to answer the Question on the Order Paper.

Mr. A. Edward Davies

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, although there are some discontents in the nationalised industries, the men have for long years given the most devoted and loyal service to the industries, and will continue to do so to make them a success?

Major Guy Lloyd

As the disputes in the nationalised industries today are notorious, and need no figures to prove their existence, will the right hon. Gentleman say how many industries were nationalised in 1923?

Mr. Robens

Unfortunately, we had not the right kind of Government in those days.

Sir Herbert Williams

How many of the people who were running strikes between 1918 and 1923 have now got soft jobs in the nationalised industries?

Mr. Robens

If the hon. Gentleman cares to put that question down I shall be very glad to answer it.