§ Mr. Robens
(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour whether he has any further statement to make on the strike of oil distribution workers and on the steps which the Government are taking to meet the situation.
§ The Minister of Labour (Sir Walter Monckton)
Yes, Sir. There are indications that an increasing number of the men are realising that there is nothing to be gained by continuing the strike. A number of men have already reported back to work and, as the House will be aware, a resolution in favour of resumption was passed at a mass meeting at Wandsworth yesterday. Further mass meetings are being held this afternoon at Stratford and Wandsworth and I hope I may be in a position to make a fuller statement tomorrow.
§ Mr. Lewis
Can the Minister give now, or in the OFFICIAL REPORT, an estimate or the cost to the nation of employing the troops involved and will he say whether that cost will be borne by the taxpayers or whether these companies concerned—who have been making fabulous profits for many years—will be asked to meet it? Can he also say whether the troops will receive any extra payment, either at trade union rates or otherwise, or whether there will be a payment made by the companies to a troop fund; and that the public will not be expected to make extra profits for these big companies by subsidising them?
§ Sir W. Monckton
I think I can satisfy the hon. Gentleman and the House to this extent; the cost of the use of troops will not fall upon the Exchequer. The oil companies will discharge it.
Mr. J. T. Price
May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether he has seen today's issue of the "News Chronicle," in which there appears a most ill-natured and spiteful attack on Mr. Arthur Deakin in the form of a cartoon? Will he deprecate attacks of this nature, which do no good to men who are seeking to restore a sense of responsibility, in very difficult circumstances, in the best interests of the country?