HC Deb 19 February 1958 vol 582 c1207
40. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Minister of Labour, in view of the uneconomic use of manpower involved in the present methods of loading ships at docks in the United Kingdom, whether he will introduce legislation to enable the Dock Labour Board to bring these methods into line with modern Continental practice.

Mr. Iain Macleod

No, Sir. This is the responsibility of the industry, and in my view it should remain there.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Will my right hon. Friend take cognisance of the fact that the average size of a dock labour gang in Germany is about five and the gangs in this country number about ten, and that we could get greater productivity and make better use of our manpower with smaller gangs? Will my hon. Friend see that an inquiry is made into the position?

Mr. Macleod

My hon. Friend mistakes my answer. I am not disagreeing with what he wants to do but with the way he wants to do it. I announced a little time ago that both the port employers and the trade union did not wish this sort of extention of the functions of the National Dock Labour Board, and I have accepted that view. A great deal is being done by the National Joint Council along the lines suggested by my hon. Friend.