Lieut.-Colonel H. Guest
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty why his Department has refused to agree to arbitration with regard to the dispute with the Admiralty Industrial Civil Servants Federation as to the present inadequate arrangements for negotiations about conditions of employment between his Department and themselves; and, if this refusal is final, what alternative steps he proposes to deal with this long-outstanding grievance.
As I stated in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Chatham (Captain Plugge) yesterday, it is not considered that the claim by the Admiralty Industrial Civil Servants' Federation for increased facilities for conducting negotiations with the Department is a suitable and acceptable subject for arbitration. It cannot be regarded as a trade dispute under the Industrial Courts Act, 1919, or the Conditions of Employment and National Arbitration Order, 1940, as the Federation was informed in 1942. The Admiralty cannot agree that the present arrangements do not enable the Federation to make adequate representations on behalf of their members. In any event, these could not be altered as desired by the Federation without changes in the composition or functions of the Industrial Whitley Councils, and the trade union sides of these Councils have not, up to the present, been prepared to agree to any changes of the kind. In the absence of agreement to modify the established machinery of negotiation, the Admiralty do not propose to take the matter any further.