HC Deb 08 February 1956 vol 548 cc1663-4
13. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will give a general direction to the air corporations that maintenance work on their aircraft is not to be let out to independent contractors but is invariably to be done by the staff of the corporations.

Mr. Watkinson

These matters must be decided by the corporations on commercial grounds.

Mr. Rankin

Is the Minister not aware that because of the lack of a directive of this nature, or something akin to it, the policy being pursued by B.E.A. is leading to a complete mess up? Is he aware that work has been transferred from Renfrew to London on the ground that maintenance could be done there more economically and more efficiently and that now some of that work is being farmed out to independent firms? Is not that something on which he could issue a directive, because some of the maintenance workers are now being asked whether they want to return to Renfrew.

Mr. Watkinson

I understand that the work being placed out by B.E.A. is not normal maintenance but is, for example, the reconstruction of crashed aircraft. The workpeople concerned have their proper channels of communication, and I should always be willing in a sympathetic fashion to try to look at any difficulties about which I hear.

Mr. Mikardo

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a good deal of regular maintenance work formerly done at Renfrew is being farmed out? I have seen it with my own eyes. Is he further aware that some of this work has had to be rejected as not up to B.E.A. standards and that that rejection has caused B.E.A. a lot of trouble? Is not all this the result of the silly decision to shut Renfrew down?

Mr. Watkinson

This is all part of the commercial policy of the corporations, and they must sort these things out for themselves.