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Transport And General Workers Union

Volume 982: debated on Tuesday 1 April 1980

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I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,

"the fact that the docks delegate conference of the Transport and General Workers Union this morning has called a national dock strike in support of the official strike at the port of Liverpool from 8 o'clock tomorrow morning."
The matter is specific, because the strike will begin tomorrow morning. It is important, because it can affect the whole country and because the Government should state clearly where they stand in relation to this dispute and what action they will take to bring it to an end. I believe that the dockers are correct in what they are doing, but it is quite obvious that the effect on the country's economy could be very serious.

The matter is also important, because it hinges on the settlement of the steel dispute. It can affect the outcome of that dispute and therefore it is clear that the House should express its opinion on this matter. More than 150 hon. Members have signed an early-day motion on the question of the Liverpool dock strike and therefore I urge that the House discuss this matter before the Easter Recess.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller) has asked leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,

"the fact that the docks delegate conference of the Transport and General Workers Union this morning has called a national dock strike in support of the official strike at the port of Liverpool from 8 o'clock tomorrow morning."
The House will be aware that the hon. Member has brought to our notice a very serious matter. It also knows that I am directed to take account of the several factors set out in the Order but to give no reasons for my decision.

I cannot grant the hon. Member's application today, but I emphasise that we are very close to the recess and that there is an Adjournment debate in the House tomorrow. I am aware of the seriousness of the matter, but I cannot rule today that the hon. Member's submission falls within the provisions of the Standing Order, and therefore I cannot submit his application to the House.