asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that nearly 100 lightermen, employed by the Associated Portland Cement Company at Gravesend, are in a state of dispute with their employers; and whether he will take steps to facilitate a settlement in order to prevent any spread of the trouble to other firms along the River Thames who employ lightermen, and who, with this exception, observe working conditions which are satisfactory to the men.
I am aware of this dispute and of the circumstances in which an unofficial stoppage of work has taken place. The number of men concerned is 77. There is established machinery for the settlement of the question involved but until the men accept the advice of their union to resume work it is not possible to make any progress towards consideration of the differences. Arrangements have been made for negotiations between the parties to commence immediately work is resumed.