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Dockyard Wages, Malta

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1947

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what steps have been taken to meet and reopen negotiations with the trade union representatives of the workers employed in His Majesty's Dockyard in Malta, in view of their rejection of his Department's offer of 6s. a week increase in their minimum wage.

Representations made on behalf of the workpeople in His Majesty's Dockyard, Malta, that increases of pay lately approved are inadequate were fully considered, and the Commander-in-Chief was informed that the Admiralty were satisfied that the increases were fair and equitable, and that they were unable to agree to any further increase. No further representations have so far been received.

Is it not the case that the authorities there are endeavouring to impose conditions on the workers without any consultation, or any attempt to get an agreement with the union representatives of the men?

There is not the slightest foundation for that statement. We have joint negotiating machinery there in the same way as we have in other parts of the world and in this country, and the representatives of the men have every opportunity of making a case out in Malta on this issue, but they have not done so since the award was granted.

Might I ask what facilities there are for submitting claims like this to arbitration where agreement cannot be reached through the ordinary negotiating channels?

At the moment there are no facilities for arbitration in Malta, but the whole question of arbitration is being gone into.

Has there been any attempt, since the rejection of the offer, to meet and discuss with the representatives of the men the issues involved in the award and in the rejection of the award?

There has been no attempt because the men have made no application for it, but as soon as the men's representatives make an application, as at all other times, we shall be only too ready to meet them.