asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he has received any notification from the Railway Companies of a proposed reduction of wages for employees entering the railway service; whether he is aware that machinery exists for the purpose of determining the wages and conditions of service of railway employees by agreement, and whether he proposes to call the attention of the Railway Companies to the obligations imposed on them by Section 55 of the Railways Act, 1924.

I am in communication with the parties concerned in this matter, and consider that it is not desirable at the present stage to discuss partial aspects of it by way of question and answer.

Arising out of that reply, I desire to ask the Minister, if the companies insist upon causing a dislocation by ignoring the established machinery, is he prepared to give an undertaking that in such circumstances he will take over the working of the railways?

I am not prepared to answer any question which goes into the merits of the case on an allegation made by the Deputy.

You will just wait and see if the trouble takes place?

No. Obviously, if I have to intervene in a conciliatory spirit afterwards, I could not commit myself to anything in the House now.