HC Deb 18 December 1952 vol 509 cc1609-10
23. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Minister of Labour to make a further statement on the dispute between the National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants and the firm of D. C. Thomson.

Sir W. Darling

On a point of order. Is it in order, Sir, for an hon. Member, without disclosing his interest, to put on the Order Paper a Question relating to a rival newspaper?

Mr. Speaker

I was not aware that there was any concealment of interest here.

Sir W. Monckton

The answer to the Question is as follows: I regret that it has still not been possible to arrive at a mutually acceptable arrangement regarding the re-instatement by the firm of any of the men who came out on strike at Glasgow last April. I am considering whether there is any further way by which an amicable solution of this outstanding question may be sought.

Mr. Thomson

While thanking the Minister for his reply and appreciating the efforts that he has made, may I ask if he is aware that the 77 men will have been out on strike for eight months tomorrow. [HON. MEMBERS: "They were locked out."] Can the Minister tell the House what action has been taken by the Prime Minister, following his meetings with the Trades Union Congress? If the Minister has no legal authority to operate in this matter, will he use his moral authority to tell the public plainly that the unions concerned in this case have acted with good citizenship and that the firm has acted with stupid obstinacy?

Sir W. Monckton

The steps which have been taken have been to make approaches which I do not want to specify at this stage because some are still continuing, but it has been done through me and my Department on the instructions of the Prime Minister, and I am still hoping to produce a better result.

Mr. Woodburn

Is it not time that this grim old warrior got some of the milk of human kindness on the approach of Christmas and remembered that the homes of 77 families are being jeopardised because of his stupid obstinacy in adhering to practices which are 100 years out of date?

Sir W. Monckton

We ought to bear in mind that perhaps the principal matter which was in dispute in those days was the question whether a man should be called upon to give an undertaking not to belong to a union, and on that, at any rate, one can say that we have succeeded in getting a different result. One should bear that in mind, because it was the main point in dispute.

Sir W. Darling

Will my right hon. and learned Friend take advantage of the Christmas season to try to bring an end to the vendetta which is being waged against the "Dundee Advertiser" by rival newspapers and by political opponents, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite who cannot conceal their hatred of a free and independent Scottish newspaper and its proprietors?

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