Mr. G. WHITE
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider the advisability of amending the Industrial Courts Act, 1919, to make it obligatory for a public inquiry to be held, provided that no conciliative machinery exists or where such negotiating machinery has been unsuccessful in effecting a settlement, when one or both parties involved in a trade dispute, as denned by the Act, makes application for such an inquiry?
§ Major BOYD-CARPENTER
I have been asked to reply. Part II of the Industrial Courts Act, which empowers the Minister of Labour, if he thinks fit, to appoint a court of inquiry into the circumstances of an industrial dispute, must be exercised with discretion and used when the interests of the public, rather than the interests of the disputants themselves are affected. The obligatory appointment of a court of inquiry upon request by one side would gravely impair the value of the usual negotiations between employers and workpeople, and I am not aware that there is any general desire for an amendment of the Act in the manner proposed.