§ Mr. WILLIAM THORNE
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that a strike has been going on in Southampton for the past eight weeks in the engineering firms; that the men agreed to leave the dispute in the hands of Sir George Askwith to arbitrate upon; that 1403W the employers refused arbitration; also if he can state if any of the firms are Government contractors; and if he intends taking any action in the matter?
I think my hon. Friend is under a misapprehension. The Chief Industrial Commissioner recently invited representatives of both employers and workpeople affected by this dispute to meet him in conference with a view to endeavouring to arrive at a settlement. The invitation was accepted by the employers, but the men replied that they were not in a position at the present stage to accept it. I am unable to say whether any of the firms affected are Government contractors.