§ Mr. DOUGLAS HACKING
(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour whether he has any statement to make on the present position in the spinning section of the cotton industry?
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Henry Betterton)
It is a matter for very 1442 great regret that the delegates of the Spinners' Amalgamation have rejected, by a majority, the provisional wages settlement made by their Executive and have thus caused a dislocation of the industry at a time when a definite improvement of its circumstances was in sight. In view of the keen competition with which the cotton industry has to contend, a stoppage of work will cause not only temporary but also permanent loss to employers, operatives and the country. It was with a view to avoiding this result that, after long and hard fought negotiations, the Executives of the employers' and operatives' organisations agreed to a compromise on their respective demands.
The general agreement which is thus placed in jeopardy includes provisions for ensuring the just and peaceful settlement of matters affecting employers and operatives, the restoration of the 48-hour week, and making that working week effective, and, a matter of considerable importance, provision for special consideration of the conditions of lower-paid workers.
Having regard to the fact that the conditions in the industry can be generally reviewed by the joint machinery in its improved form, I venture to hope that an end will quickly be made of a situation which can be satisfying only to those who are opposed to the operation of the system of collective agreements and who prefer destructive to constructive methods.
I am glad to be able to add that the meeting of the Negotiating Committee which was arranged when the provisional settlement was reached on 22nd October is taking place in Manchester this afternoon, and that the representatives of the employers' and operatives' organisations will attend.
§ Captain Sir WILLIAM BRASS
Will the representative of the Ministry of Labour, who has been so extremely useful in his negotiations, also attend?