§ 4.38 p.m.
My Lords, perhaps I may again trespass on your Lordships' time and, with the leave of the House, repeat a further Statement which has just been made in another place, this time by my honourable friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, about the Stationery Office. This was the Financial Secretary's Statement:
"As Members are aware, the printing Union, SOGAT 'A' have called a strike of their members to-day involving last night's shift. This has made it impossible for the Stationery Office to provide normal Parliamentary papers for to-day. I regret therefore that we have not been able to supply copies of Hansard, but steps have been taken to see that the House has the papers which are essential for the conduct of to-day's business."
819 My Lords, that concludes my honourable friend's statement. As far as your Lordships are concerned, the only inconvenience occasioned to this House—and I should like to take this opportunity of apologising for this inconvenience—since we did not sit yesterday, was the failure to provide printed white Order Papers for to-day's business; but the authorities of the House have provided these in duplicated form, as your Lordships are aware.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, I do not propose to harass the noble Earl the Leader of the House in the way that my predecessor as Leader of the Opposition used to harass me. I would only say to the noble Earl that this is a delicate matter; and, on the whole, this sort of matter is not well discussed on the Floor of the House. I only ask that he will continue to keep the House continuously informed, both through the usual channels and by Statements here. The only point I would like to ask is this: do I take it that this strike has been officially ordered by the Union and is not one of the go-slows with which we have had a certain amount of trouble? Secondly, despite the fact that the atmosphere of industrial relations has in my view been made very much worse by the Government's attitude on certain points, I hope that they will show the maximum concentration on dealing with very sensitive problems which could have quite serious effects.
My Lords, I am sincerely grateful to the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition for the restraint with which he has couched his remarks, and I should like to respond straight away by saying that I will gladly undertake to keep your Lordships informed about the impact of this particular industrial action upon the convenience of your Lordships' House. It is my understanding that this particular strike is official so far as SOGAT "A" is concerned—or was. I hope that the action taken in this particular respect will be swiftly terminated. It has of course been against the advice of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress.