HC Deb 18 February 1958 vol 582 cc1023-4
21. Mr. Popplewell

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how far he was aware, before its publication by the Admiral Superintendent of Malta Dockyard, of the notice dated 20th January, 1958, laying down the penalties to be imposed on all dockyard employees who in future take any part in stoppages of work.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I was fully consulted at all stages about the publication of the notice.

Mr. Popplewell

Is the Minister aware that we are very much surprised at that Answer? Does he realise that there has been a loss of only 4½ hours work in the dockyard at Malta during the last twelve months? Further, does he not think that the circular, which states in one part that any people going on strike in future will have their paid leave entitlement reduced, that in the case of established men their position will be examined and that in the case of un-established men their records will be examined with a view to their suitability for establishment, reflects a very high-handed attitude indeed? In view of the delicacy of the position of Malta—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."]—will not the Minister take steps to have this circular withdrawn before it leads to further trouble?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The dockyard at Malta certainly has an enviable and splendid record of good industrial relations. The circular issued by the Admiralty should be read as a whole in order to put that passage in perspective. It was an attempt, and I think a useful one, to remind the workers there, at a time when we were hearing a great deal about privileges, of their obligations as well.

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