12 SEPTEMBER 1952, Page 2

The Engineers Persist

It might have been thought that if the engineers were going to listen to reason on the subject of their claim for an increase of £2 a week they would have listened to it already. But their decision on Wednesday to impose an overtime ban in support of their claim indicates that neither the key position of the engineering industries in both exports and rearmament, nor the plain fact that inflation is slowing down, nor the appeals of the Government for restraint to prevent it from speeding up again, nor the support of the T.U.C. for that appeal can dissuade the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions from desperate courses. Even the desire for moderation of some of its constituent unions is to be over-ridden. That irresponsibility should have gone so far is almost too bad to be true. In fact it is impossible to believe that the engineers will persist to the bitter end with their obviously excessive claim. What they are protesting about is the refusal of the employers to entertain any claim whatever. In other words they are swinging into violent action immediately after the opening bids in a bout of bargaining—an impatient act to say the least. But the Confederation shows certain slight doubts. It does not recommend a strike. It is said to be hoping for Government intervention. It ostentatiously leaves the details of the overtime ban to the constituent unions. The case for Government intervention therefore seems to be plain, but it is a pity the engineers' dignity does not allow them to behave with common-sense before they have been officially asked to do so by the Minister of Labour. -