HC Deb 21 February 1966 vol 725 cc15-6
26. Mr. Hamling

asked the Minister of Labour on how many occasions in 1965 conciliation officers from his Department intervened in industrial disputes in order to prevent a stoppage of work; what industries were concerned; and how many workers were affected by such disputes.

Mr. Gunter

In 1965 my conciliation officers intervened in 406 disputes. A substantial number were in the engineering and metal using industries and in transport but there was a wide spread over large variety of industries. Information is not available as to the total number of workers affected.

Mr. Hamling

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that the good work of his officers is given publicity? Good news travels slowly. Would this not offset some of the anti-union publicity from the benches opposite?

Mr. Gunter

I am very grateful for any compliment which comes my way as Minister of Labour these days. On the other hand, I think that there is a need for an extension of this work. The conciliation officers throughout the country do a magnificent job of work, very often under great difficulties.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of us on this side of the House believe that if he and his conciliation officers had been allowed to act—instead of the Prime Minister prolonging the agony—in the recent railway dispute, they would have solved that one too?