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Periodicals (Trade Union Consultation)

Volume 436: debated on Thursday 24 April 1947

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asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the decision to suspend publication of trade and periodical journals for two weeks was taken without consultation with any of the trade unions affected; and whether he will give instructions that the trade unions shall be brought into any future Government negotiations with any section of the newspaper and periodical industry.

Yes, Sir. In implementing the Government's decision, the need for speedy action made it impracticable to consult with all possible interests. With regard to the second part of the Question, while I cannot give a categorical assurance of this nature, I have no doubt that Ministers would consult both sides of industry in any suitable case.

Is the Prime Minister aware that, in spite of the fast one which the Ministry of Fuel and Power succeeded in getting past the Periodical Proprietors' Association this time, that method will not succeed again?

When the right hon. Gentleman talks of the decision, will he make it clear that it was not a decision which could be legally imposed, but one which he managed to persuade the foolish editors of the five newspapers in question to accept?

Was not the suspension, in fact, a wholly arbitrary and illegal act?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the well-intentioned editors of the newspapers in question were not consulted at all, and knew nothing about the decision until it had been taken?

Would not the Prime Minister, on reflection, consider that the continued use of the expression "both sides of industry" is unfortunate at the present time?