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City Of London (Employees' Strike)

Volume 437: debated on Thursday 8 May 1947

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asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the dead are lying unburied, streets remain uncleaned and public conveniences are closed in the City of London through unofficial strikes; and what action His Majesty's Government have taken in the matter in the interests of health and humanity and to prevent a recurrence of such a state of affairs.

I am aware that the Corporation of London are unable to arrange for burials in their own cemetery, and that they have had to suspend street cleansing and to close public conveniences. While I much regret the inconvenience which is caused to the public, I do not consider that any immediate danger to public health is threatened, but I am keeping the situation under review.

Will the Minister, in view of this very unsatisfactory state of affairs, promise every possible assistance to the local authority should they need it, and if they are unable or unwilling to take action themselves will he take it for them?

I regard the stoppage of the workers who are responsible for burying and for scavenging, and other services of a vital health nature, as fundamentally irresponsible. If this strike does not end very quickly, I shall take action.

To what year does this Question refer—the year of the Great Plague?

As the irresponsibility may be on the part of those who impose conditions that make such a strike possible, will the right hon. Gentleman take up with the local authorities the question of the working conditions of the men?

There is no body of workers in Great Britain who have made available to them better conciliation machinery than the employees of local authorities. I consider that suspension of scavenging and burying is an act of utter irresponsibility.