§ 3.52 p.m.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (LORD MANCROFT)
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission may I intervene for a few moments to make a statement about the disputes in the shipbuilding and engineering industries? The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions met this morning to consider the request of my right honourable friend the Minister of Labour and National Service that they should call off the strikes in the shipbuilding and engineering industries so that the Courts of Inquiry which he has set up can proceed in a strike-free atmosphere. I am very happy to be able to tell the House that the shipbuilding and engineering unions have agreed to this and have decided that there will be a resumption of work in both industries on Thursday morning.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I am sure the House is not only very pleased but very grateful for the statement. We look forward to better feeling in the industry. I hope that ultimately a settlement will be arrived at which will satisfy both sides and that we shall have a good chance of returning to successful production.
My Lords, we on the Liberal Benches greatly welcome the statement made by Lord Mancroft. Without casting any cold water upon it, while offering our congratulations to the Minister of Labour and National Service and his team, I feel that we should also wish them well in the future, for it seems that the job is not yet done, and a temporary peace is not necessarily a lasting or just peace, although we hope that it will be.
§ LORD MANCROFT
My Lords, I am sure your Lordships will agree with the observations made by the noble Lord the Leader of the Liberal Party, and will bear in mind that the Courts can only make recommendations as to the amount of wage increases and that the parties are not, of course, committed to accept the Courts' recommendations.