HC Deb 14 June 1956 vol 554 cc734-5
2. Mr. Delargy

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that about 275 workers have been unemployed since 24th April, 1956, owing to a dispute with Messrs. John Thompson Water Tube Boilers Limited at Tilbury Power Station; and whether he will take steps to bring this dispute to an end so that the men may resume work.

4. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that work on the Tilbury Power Station has been held up by a lock-out of about 270 men by Messrs. John Thompson since 24th April, last; and whether he will take steps to get an early resumption of work.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I am aware of the circumstances in which about 270 men were dismissed by this firm. My regional officer has been in touch with the trade unions and employers' association concerned, and I am informed that the matter is to be discussed at an early date by representatives of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions and of the Engineering and Allied Employers National Federation.

Mr. Delargy

Will not the Minister agree that the alleged reason for the lock-out is rather trivial? Is it not lamentable that work of such grave national importance should be retarded so wantonly? Is the right hon. Gentleman also aware that the dispute has now been in existence for nearly two months and that the firm has made no endeavour whatever to negotiate with the trade unions involved?

Mr. Macleod

Whether it is dismissal of workers, as the firm would say, or a lock-out, as the men claim, is a matter of definition on which I should not like to pronounce. I entirely agree with the hon. Member about the importance of the contract and, therefore, the importance of bringing the dispute, however it may have arisen, to an early end.