Dock Strike

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Dock Strike

Dock Strike
   
Situation
.

P.M. 

Sitn worse.  Spread to Lpl. & B'head.

N.E. 

So'ton & Glasgow may come out.

C.E. 

20 food ships at Lpl:  10 workg:  others contain perishables.

P.M. 

Send in troops to unload perishables at Lpl.    [Not yet Agreed.

A.V.A. 

Stevedores & crane drivers (troops) concentrated in Ldn. Area.
Some troops available in Lpl. area.  Can't say wtr. wd. be enough, until M/F. have notified requiremts.
Steps in hand to ascertain what troops available for So'ton.
Accommn is trouble.  Cd we requisition Olympic camps at Richmond & Uxbridge. Wanted by Br. on 27/7.

N.B. 

Other teams wd. require it earlier.

E.B. 

Albert Hall, Olympia or Earls Court.

J.S. 

If no cargoes moved anywhere -
Meat ½ canned this week:  & next week 8d canned.
Bread shortage in 14 days.
Sugar diffies in 7/14 days.
Bacon, cheese & butter also 14 days.
Troops beginning to move meat & wheat this a.m.

N.Ed. 

Deakin says docks/cold storage movemt. won't provoke strike at Smithfield.  But will come out at Smithfield if troops move meat there direct.

J.S. 

Now moving to rail.  In 2 days' time will have to move to Ldn.

E.B. 

Diff. situation.  Good organisation at bottom of this.
Deakin's Executive & Natl. Dock group mtg. to-morrow.
D. met no. unofficial strikers:  one volunteered their next move wd. be to demand 25/= a day.  Started with vehicle builders:  attempt made to involve engineering trades when that claim defeated - that failed:  D. satisfied the 11 men were occasion not cause of strike.  Union believe these men want to get rid of scheme & be free to strike at will - chaos as instrument of threat.
State must protect itself v. this.

H.M. 

Mrs Braddock tried to get P.M. on Saty - then asked me to telephone to her in Lpl.  Decided it wasn't wise for me to speak to her.
N. Ed. thought same.

N.Ed. 

C.P. 168.  Advantages - as in memo.
Nat. Dock Labour Bd. take view that they cdn't assent to emplt. of non-docker labour:  for T.U. element on Bd. wdn't agree to it.
Means - emergency powers or specl. legn.  Genl. action might put other posts v. us.  Legn cd. confine it to Ldn.

R.S.C. 

If limited to Ldn, wd. be a hybrid Bill?

E.B. 

Why limit powers to docks.  May spread to other services.
Take general powers:  use them to extent required.

A.B. 

Time has come for P.M. to b'cast.  Think of constructive suggn. Govt. havg. called in troops, is involved anyway.  Put prestige of this Govt. behind it.

P.M. 

Before takg. powers must know how you will use them.
In suspendg. Dock scheme, we may be doing what men behind strike want.

E.B. 

Dangerous to suspend scheme.  Only point to get over is emplt. outside scheme.  Under emerg. powers you cd. amend that w'out suspendg. scheme as a whole.

N.Ed. 

Susp. of scheme wd. = retaing. penalties under scheme & applying  them to all on strike.

A.B. 

First step = declare need to m'tain supplies:  Dock scheme is being brought into jeopardy by unoffl. element in Ldn.
Warn them first.
Go further.  Say let men return to work & there will be immed. enquiry into Dock scheme.

E.B. 

No.  Can't offer genl. enquiry every time you get unoffl. strike.
5.000 piece rates in Ldn., all covered by scheme.  Enquiry wd. never end.

P.M. 

Have promised already penalty provns can be subject of review.
Don't want to encourage genl. enquiry.
Statement in H/C. comes first.  Can say we intend to declare state of emergency.  But must be ready to say what use we shall make  of powers.  i) suspend Dock scheme  ii) empower employers to  engage volunteers.  Must look ahead to consequences of such actions.

E.B. 

Cd. defend strong action.  Challenge - cold war - no serious grievance - Aske's award - penalty provns can be examd etc.
 Wd prefer therefore to take genl. powers.
 Indicate one of purposes of strikers leaders is to get rid of scheme.

A.V.A. 

1920 Act not used since 1926.

A.B. 

Dangerous to suggest Comms. are wholly responsible.  Must however put argument in mouths of our friends.  Mustn't lose prestige battle.

E.B. 

i) Can't have food & exports held up.
ii) Only one clause in scheme precludes engagemt. of volunteers.  Take power therefore to modify that only, in emergency.

N.Ed. 

Prospect of volunteers.  Non-dock labour tht. cd. be found wd. be negligible.  But tactical advantage in freeing employers to find it if they can.

P.M. 

Then Govt. will have to call for volunteers.

A.B. 

Need for positive statement.  Union has lost authy.  Because men feel they have grievance.  Can we remove that? 
Yes:  by promisg. enquiry.

P.M. 

Have said that already.  They are demandg. suspension of penalties imposed:  & also para. 16(2).

A.B. 

Let P.M. underline in b'cast what has bn. said about review.

E.B. 

Presentation is easy.  Ques. for Cab. is wtr. they will take emergency  powers, and how will they use them.
Unfair to suggest Union hasn't done its job.
Our aim has bn. to get element of discipline in industry.  Union has tried to help with that.  Don't let them down.

P.M. 

Must be debate in H/C.  W'in 5/7 days of action.
Att. Genl. Specl. legn wdn't give you enough elbow room.

N.Ed. 

Let us w'draw Ldn. from scheme - because workers & employers want it.

E.B. 

Disastrous to give way like that.

R.S.C. 

Many men are at work under scheme.  All you want to do is to modify it so that others may be engaged.

A.B. 

Decln of emergency & b'cast will be enough.

P.M. 

Shall be asked at once what Rgs. we shall make.  Do I reply: modify scheme to allow non-regd labour to be engaged.
(Yes)

H.M. 

Other Rgs. as requd.

P.M. 

Where will the labour be obtd.

E.B. 

If employers can't find it, we must make a call on the community.
Threats to be averted to i) food  ii) exports  iii) emplt. generally.
Take it to-day.

N.Ed. 

All this will do = free employers to engage non-regd.  The first to go in will cause those working to come out.  Thurs. posn will be  worse than now.
I wd. prefer therefore to suspend scheme to-day, in Ldn.

T.W. 

Then what paymts. will be made to those at work.

A.B. 

Suspension of scheme won't give you ordinary dock labour.

P.M. 

Use of troops.  All training wd. have to be suspended.

A.V.A. 

In that event, we wd. need civil lorries & drivers.

H.D. 

Don't like general appeal - wd. bring in Fascist elements.

G.T. 

Don't like war against strikers.  Wd prefer to find a way in wh. Govt.
(w'out giving way to threats)  wd. give men a chance to climb down.  P.M. has said already in H/C. enough for this.  But spoiled if it has bn. done thro' an individual not au fait with posn.
Wd prefer someone to put our views to men who won't attend  mtgs.  Approach from Govt. to unoffl. strikers.
Genl. agreemt. this wdn't do.

A.B. 

Agree to methods suggd except call for civil volunteers.
Turn Labour Party prop. machine v. strikers.

E.B. 

Don't need Emergency Powers if you rely on troops alone.

J. 

You wd. need the Powers to requisition lorries.

P.M. 

We cd. say we don't intend to use them for civil labour.
Or "bldgs, equipment & transport …."
Att.Genl. And to put use of troops on firm legal basis.
And to give powers to deal with developing situation.

H.M. 

Cd. use of Powers be limited geographically?
Att.Genl. Yes.
Agreed:  Declare Emergency to-day.
Broadcast.
To-night at 9.p.m.

H.M. 

Or to-morrow?  To give more time.

P.M.

-  not E.B.            Agreed.
To-night or to-morrow?   Agreed Monday night at 9.p.m.
Repeat at 7.a.m. & 8.a.m. to-morrow (Tues).
Referce to Comm. influence.  "Wtr. designedly or not, the effect of this is to play Comm. game."   Grievance exploited ……….

Taken from C.M. 44(48) - Meeting held on 28 June 1948.