asked the Minister of Labour whether he is, aware of the public concern at the loss of coal production caused by strikes in the East Kent coalfield; and whether, in the national interest, he has made, or proposes to make, the powers conferred upon him by the Essential Work Order applicable to the coal-mining industry?
Undertakings in the coal-mining industry are, with few exceptions, scheduled under the Essential Work Order applicable to that industry. I ought to point out, however, that the provisions with regard to the illegality of strikes and lock-outs are contained in the Conditions of Employment and National Arbitration Order, which is of general application, and not in the Essential Work Orders.
Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that in the case of these unfortunate strikes it is his policy to take action himself and not to throw that responsibility on the employers?