HC Deb 30 October 1919 vol 120 cc928-9W

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been called to the dispute between the firm of R. and T. Gibson, provision merchants, Princes Street, Edinburgh, which enjoys Royal patronage, and its staff, numbering eighty-eight men and women; whether he is aware that the staff, after repeated applications for better remuneration, are now on strike; that public meetings of representative citizens in Edinburgh, addressed by leading clergymen and others, have described the wages offered, after many years of service in many instances, as utterly inadequate; that the National Union of Shop Assistants, acting for the staff, has offered arbitration with a view to settlement, and that this proposal has been pressed upon the firm by many public men in Edinburgh; that the firm refuses to recognise the union or to proceed to arbitration; and what steps he proposes to take to induce this firm to adopt the usual methods of reaching a settlement in practice among the great majority of employers in this country?


The Ministry of Labour has endeavoured to bring about a settlement of this dispute but the firm has up to the present declined to enter into negotiations with representatives of the trade union. The Department is, however, closely watching the case and will use every effort to end the dispute at the earliest possible moment, but as the hon. Member is aware the Department has no power to compel the firm to recognise the union or to go to arbitration on the matter in dispute.


asked the Minister of Labour it he is aware that a dispute has been in progress for some weeks between the firm of Hollins and Company, Limited, and their workpeople at Pleasley and Nottingham, owing to the firm refusing to discuss the workpeople's petition submitted in February of this year; whether his Department has intervened with a view to bringing about a settlement, and with what result; whether he is aware that the war wages paid by this firm are 50 per cent. below the war-time advance conceded by employers for similar classes of work in Lancashire; whether he will state what steps his Department have taken to bring about a settlement; and if the Department are still in negotiation with the parties concerned?


The Department's local Conciliation Officer at Birmingham is endeavouring to bring about a settlement of this dispute, but the firm declines to enter into negotiations with the union. The efforts of the Department to secure an early termination of the dispute will be continued.