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War Department Constabulary

Volume 391: debated on Tuesday 13 July 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether the associations which cater for the War Department constabulary have the same rights as regards arbitration as other bodies of workers enjoy?

No definite procedure has been laid down for arbitration on questions affecting the War Department Constabulary, but the War Department Constabulary Association, which raised this question has been informed that in the event of failure to reach agreement on any matter under negotiation between the War Office and the War Department Constabulary Association it would be for settlement between the Department and the association whether the matter should be referred to the Industrial Court or to some other arbitration body set up specially by agreement to decide the particular case.

Does that mean applying the agreement as to the particular piece of machinery to be used, that the War Minister does agree that these men should be entitled to increases without Question?

It means precisely what I have said, in the specific answer I have given to the hon. Member's question.

If the meaning of the answer is specific, perhaps the Minister will be good enough to tell me what it is?

The answer is that it is a matter for agreement in any particular instance whether the case should be referred to arbitration and what particular form of arbitration should be adopted.

While I thank the Minister for that reply, would he not then agree that there should be an automatic right of reference to arbitration, as there is in the case of employees of every other body? Why should these cases be looked at separately to see whether they are for arbitration or not?

The position of the War Department Constabulary is not the same as that of other civilian employees.

Is not the Minister aware that this right is already enjoyed in some sections?