asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the dispute between the British Electricity Authority and the Electrical Trades Union over the appointment by the former of an employee who is not a member of that union; and what steps he is taking towards a settlement.
asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to end the dispute which exists under the London Electricity Board and the Eastern Electricity Board and which started some nine weeks ago.
I would refer the hon. Members to the answer which I gave on 20th March to the hon. Member for Hackney, South (Mr. H. Butler) in which I explained that although a meeting of the interested parties was called by the Department for 16th March, it had proved impossible to find an acceptable basis for joint discussions embracing all the parties. My right hon. Friend has, however, emphasised that the stoppage of work should not be allowed to drag on, and a meeting of all the interested parties has now been arranged for tomorrow afternoon with officers of the Department.
Is the Minister aware that about 2,000 men are now involved in this dispute and that despite the fact that they have offered to do emergency work free very great inconvenience is being caused to the public?
Oh, yes, and it is precisely because of that inconvenience to the public that we are trying to bring the dispute to an end.
Will the Minister be in a position to make a statement to the House tomorrow or the next day on the outcome of these negotiations?
So much depends upon what happens in the negotiations. We are hoping for finality, but I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that if we cannot achieve finality tomorrow it would be a great mistake to say anything which might put the matter back.