HC Deb 01 July 1952 vol 503 cc224-5
20. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the success of his appeal to industry to continue the employment of men and women beyond the age of 65 years, where the employee is capable and willing to remain at work.

Sir W. Monckton

There has been an encouraging response from both sides of industry to my appeal and it has stimulated thought and discussion over a very wide field. In a matter of this kind, involving changes in long-established practice and custom, immediate results cannot be expected on a wide scale. With the help of the National Advisory Committee on the Employment of Older Men and Women, I will continue to foster the development of this policy.

Mr. Nabarro

Has my right hon. and learned Friend's attention been directed to the case of the Stourport-on-Severn power house, where the Midlands Electricity Board have given notice of dismissal to six men who have attained or will shortly attain the age of 65 years, all of whom are capable and willing to remain in work? Would it not be a good thing for nationalised undertakings to set an honourable example in the matter of implementing Government policy?

Sir W. Monckton

I have no information about this case, but I know that the general principle which has been agreed between the electricity authority and the trade unions is that retention after 65 shall be left with the electricity authority to decide in accordance with Government policy and the efficiency' of the industry. There is provision for negotiation where employees think they are not being treated fairly.

Mr. G. Thomas

If I send to the Minister details of a case in which the Treasury are not fulfilling this obligation or requirement to keep men after 65, will the Minister do what he can to help me in this case?

Sir W. Monckton

I think it is important to bear in mind, while we are doing our best to encourage the view that men ought not to lose their occupation, if they are otherwise qualified, simply because they are getting older, that it cannot be a ground for treating people as not redundant when, in fact, they are.