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If my hon. Friend has in mind the provision to be made for temporarily suspended workers after March, 1969, I have nothing at present to add to the reply which I gave to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Macdonald) on 29th January, 1968.—[Vol. 757, c. 870.]
Is my hon. Friend not aware of the urgency of this matter and of the fact that there is a great deal of anxiety in the shipyard and ship repair yard areas about the position because we have no news of any voluntary agreement having been reached?
I am very well aware of the urgency and so is my right hon. Friend. I told my hon. Friend the Member for Chislehurst on 29th January that because of the urgency my right hon. Friend took the view that voluntary negotiations were not sufficient and had undertaken the proceedings which would eventually result in statutory measures being taken.
It is clear what "urgency" means in this context. It requires that by March, 1969, the provisions will be operating, and that is the assurance that I can give the House.