April 4, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)


Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour) :

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday last I promised a reply to the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) as to whether a request had been received from the united steelworkers union to convene a joint conference of the steel manufacturers and representatives of the steelworkers union to discuss the matter of wage increases. I think the best answer would be for me to refer my hon. friend to Hansard of September 12, 1945, page 111, where my colleague the Minister of Reconstruction (Mr. Howe) answered a similar question put by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell).
I feel that I should, however, state that negotiations are going on in respect to em-

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ployees of the Steel Company of Canada of Hamilton. At the suggestion of the Minister of Labour for Ontario, Hon. Charles Daley, a conciliation officer was appointed and reported that a conciliation board should be constituted.
The board has been established, the members being His Honour Judge M. A. Millar, Mr. J. S. D. Tory, K.C. and Mr. J. E. McGuire.
I have not as yet received a report from the conciliation board. However, I have every expectancy that a solution will be found.
Of course, the conciliation board will not be dealing with the question of wages. The employees are asking for increases and will, of course, apply through the regional board for Ontario, and, if dissatisfied with the decision, may appeal to the national board.
I am informed the situation is that the application is under consideration by the regional board at Toronto.
I should mention that negotiations are going on in connection with an application for an increase in wages of certain employees of the steel mill at Sydney. In this case a decision of the Nova Scotia regional war labour board has been appealed to the national board and a hearing is scheduled to take place in a few days.
Under the regulations those doing the collective bargaining for the employees in the various steel plants are as far as I am aware conducting their business through the boards established for this purpose in the regular way, and I am very hopeful that a mutually satisfactory settlement of all differences will be reached.
While I am answering the question of the hon. member for Vancouver East on this subject, I deprecate "strike talk". Every once in a while I read in the papers or hear on the radio that someone, and I often wonder who the someone is, is predicting a strike. In my judgment it would be much better if the predictions were all to the effect that a settlement was going to take place. Indeed it might not be out of place, Mr. Speaker, to mention that out of 3,478 cases which have been before the national and regional labour relations boards, strikes have only taken place in eight cases which in my judgment is a very good record, and I compliment both labour and management for this record.

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