§ Major ADAM
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that Mr. O. W. Owen, superintendent of the Labour Exchanges at Newport, at the request of one of the trade union officials, addressed the men on strike at the Newport Docks, and, after appealing to them to give the award a fair trial, informed them that if it failed they could give notice in the ordinary way and reopen negotiations with the employers; whether any notice was provided for in the award; and whether it is in accordance with the administrative policy of the Labour Exchanges that the officials should address meetings of strikers and that they should encourage them to throw over an award the terms of which they dislike?
I am satisfied that Mr. Owen's efforts were directed solely to promote the acceptance of the award of the arbitration court, and that he said nothing that could bear the construction suggested in the question.
§ Major ADAM
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to a statement by one of the strikers concerned in the Newport Dock strike that the men never agreed to submit the point in dispute to arbitration, and were told by the officials of their trade union that no award would be binding upon them; that after the award was made known Mr. Tillett, who acted as arbitrator for the men, said it could not be accepted; that he and the other union officials criticised the award in such a manner as to create a strong prejudice against its acceptance by the men; whether the officials of the Labour Department of the Board of Trade were informed by Messrs. Houlder Brothers and Company, Limited, before the agreement to arbitrate had been entered into, that the men had been advised that an arbitration award would not be binding upon them; and whether, before bringing pressure to bear upon Messrs. Houlder Brothers and Company, Limited, to agree with the officials of two trade unions to arbitrate upon the point in dispute, he 916W satisfied himself that these officials represented the views and wishes of the men on strike, and were empowered by them to agree to arbitration on their behalf?
As regards the alleged statements of strikers and their leaders, the ordinary sources of information are as much open to the hon. Member as to myself. As to the action of the Board of Trade, I have nothing to add to the statement recently made by me in the Debate in the House of Commons.