HC Deb 14 July 1954 vol 530 cc467-8
16. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the date of the last formal consultation between himself or any authorised official of his Department with the trade unions with regard to the proposed raising of the heavy goods speed limit from 20 to 30 miles per hour.

Mr. Molson

We have had no formal consultations with the trade unions on this matter, nor has my right hon. Friend authorised any, but my right hon. Friend has frequently taken informal soundings.

Mr. Nabarro

Is my hon. Friend aware that his right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Labour undertook to hold conversations with those trade unions who did not approve or support the removal of this speed limit? A statement was given to that effect more than a year ago. In view of the fact that no conversations have since taken place, is it not evident that the whole matter has now stagnated?

Mr. Molson

This is not a matter in which the Government are primarily concerned. Until the employers and the trade unions are in agreement about the labour conditions which would apply to the drivers if a change were made in the maximum speed limit, it would be unwise to make any change.

Mr. Beswick

Will the Parliamentary Secretary be good enough to tell the House, in his own words, precisely what is the difference between formal consultations and informal soundings?

Mr. Molson

Using my own words, I should say that it is the difference between a friendly chat and formal negotiations.

Mr. McGovern

With the 1922 Committee?