§ 44. Mr. C. R. Hobson
asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the dispute at Marchwood Power Station, near Southampton, which is now in its fifth week.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
Seventeen electricians and seven electricians' mates employed at Marchwood Power Station by the contracting section of the London Electricity Board ceased work on 10th January in support of a demand that they should be given certain work which was being done by members of another union. The dispute has not been reported to me by any of the parties involved and would appear to be one which should be settled by the unions concerned.
§ Mr. Hobson
Is the Minister aware that this strike has been in operation now for six weeks? Is he further aware that it is a demarcation dispute arising as a result of the work of the London Electricity Board contracting section being given to the Maybridge Engineering Company, in which, as has already been admitted in the Press, the heads of the London Electricity Board contracting section have interests? In view of the special circumstances, is not this a case in which the Minister should intervene? Or are we to assume that this is one of the cases where there is no room for manœuvre?
§ Mr. Macleod
The information I have is that there is no connection between this dispute and the question which arose as to the giving of the contracts for part of this work to the Maybridge Construction Company. I will, of course, check on it again in view of what the hon. Gentleman has said. As far as the rest of the matter is concerned, if we in my Ministry can help in this dispute, of course we will, but nobody knows better than the hon. Gentleman that this sort of inter-union dispute is best resolved by the unions themselves.