§ Mr. THOMAS RICHARDS
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the whole of the steel works in Monmouthshire are idle consequent upon a 649W strike of the skilled craftsmen for a flat rate of wages following their notice to terminate the sliding-scale arrangement; whether he is aware that the owners allowed the six months' notice nearly to expire before meeting to consider the claim of the workmen, and are now seeking to enforce terms upon them containing a considerable reduction in wages, and refuse to meet to discuss other terms until the workmen accept the conditions offered and return to work; and, having regard to the suffering inflicted upon employés not parties to the dispute, whether he will convene a meeting at once of the employers and workmen with a view of endeavouring to effect a settlement?
§ Mr. WARDLE
The information at my disposal is that while some of the steel works in Monmouthshire are idle as a result of a strike of skilled craftsmen for a flat rate of wages, following their notice to terminate the sliding-scale agreement, some of the steel works are still working. I am also informed that negotiations had been entered into between the steel makers and the craft unions before the expiry of the agreement, and that negotiations were proceeding when the stoppage occurred. I understand that under the sliding-scale agreement these workmen would have received an increase in their wages. Officers of this Department have been in touch with the parties, and it appears that an offer to refer the matter to arbitration has been refused by the workmen.