Savoy Hotel Strike
Savoy Hotel Strike
Savoy Hotel Strike.
Dispute for about 2 wks. Not a large propn of workers are in sympathy. Lewis M.P. has tried to enlist sympathy other Unions, esp. those with Communist bias. One of aims is to carry dispute into Wedding week. Savoy generates own electricity – needed for water & sewerage. If oil supplies cut, hotel cdn't work. Last week, Wed., 2 lorries arrived: Lewis talked to both drivers: first delivered the oil: second was going to do so when pickets lay on ground behind lorry. Driver not prepd to injure pickets and drove away. Police removed: no power to arrest picket unless offers violence. Posn: unless oil delivered by to-day hotel wd. close. Ldn. Drivers have refused. Sunday a.m. 3 lorries came from Lancs. before day-break. Pickets again lay down, were removed – more than once. Crowd. 3 offrs. drew truncheons – 2 or 3 people v. slightly injured incldg. Asst. Secy. C.S.C.A., who was acting as volunteer picket.
Trouble for many months. Nat. Arbitn Tribunal advised P. shd. be re-instated. Savoy said this was illegal: & High Ct. have since upheld that. They offered to pay his salary for a time & have in fact paid £175: now sacked him. Lewis then called them out. More have gone on working than have come out. M/L. have apptd court of enquiry. Union then decided it's unoffl. strike. Lewis, tho' official of Union, counselled strike. Then Wontner wrote threateng. dismissal: & in view of that Union made it official strike. Trouble due: Lewis and Wontner: both unwise. Volunteer pickets – mainly from Communist T.U.'s. P. planted there by C. Party. Said to have bn. interned 18 B. H.M. Prob. as Italian, not 18 B. Court/Enquiry shd. finish v. soon. Wontner has agreed to accept its report. T.U. haven't. But believe they will.
May be raised in H/C. to-day by Private Notice Ques. My line, to W.S.C. h'to has been: no part of Police duty to take sides in industrial dispute, but shall keep traffic flowing on highway.
Danger if C. Party get control over Ldn. hotels. Managers open to blackmail. Centre for espionage etc.
Danger of Moscow stirring up trouble because our refusal to come in with their political line. Timed to Nov. mtg. of C.F.M. M. threatened Bidault with this, in effect, when we wdn't agree with R. on Marshall Plan. Labour Party must be on their toes – esp. in strengthening T.U. posn – and standing out v. unofficial strikes.
Won't get so far in U.K. as in France & Italy. T.U. weapon wd. break in their hands. Their influence, if over-called wd. disappear.
Taken from C.M. 88(47)(2) - Meeting held on 17 November 1947