HC Deb 12 April 1921 vol 140 c949W
Sir W. de FRECE

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider the desirability of issuing, in all industrial troubles on a large scale, an agreed-on statement between the contending parties, giving in simple language the chief points at issue and the arguments in support of rival claims, so that the public may be able to make up their minds on the merits of disputes, which, as stated in ordinary controversial form, are largely unintelligible to laymen?


I have been asked to reply. I am afraid that it is not always easy to secure statements agreed by the contracting parties of points of dispute in industrial troubles, nor would it be practicable to state in a form acceptable to the parties the arguments in support of rival claims. Moreover, in many cases, negotiations would not be assisted if at every stage the contentions of parties were reduced to rigid statement. On the other hand, the desirability, in appropriate cases, of impartial and authoritative statements on industrial disputes is already recognised, and a procedure for the purpose is laid down in Part II of the Industrial Courts Act, 1919, which provides for the appointment of courts of inquiry. The circumstances under which this procedure might be used are described in my reply on 21st March to a question put to me by my hon. Friend the Member for the Duddeston Division (Mr. Hallas), of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy.