(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour whether he can give the House any information as to the engineering lock-out; whether, in particular, the Government have suggested arbitration, and whether the proposal has been rejected by one of the contending parties?
As my hon. Friend will be aware, the efforts made last week to reach a settlement of this dispute were, unfortunately, not successful, and the lock-out has begun as far as the members of the Amalgamated Engineering Union are concerned. In the case of the other unions a ballot is in progress. I am, of course, continuing to keep in close touch with the progress of the dispute, but I do not think it is advisable that at this stage I should make any statement. I have not suggested arbitration.