HC Deb 16 February 1956 vol 548 c2529
Mr. G. Brown

(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour whether he has any statement to make about the dispute between the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Musicians' Union.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The dispute between the B.B.C. and the Musicians' Union relates to fees and other conditions of orchestral musicians in connection with casual studio engagements, relays and recordings. The Corporation has requested me to refer the dispute to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal. It was necessary to ask the Corporation for further information which I have now received, and I am at present considering its request.

Mr. Brown

In view of the fact that the longer the present situation lasts the greater will be the public inconvenience and difficulty of other people disentangling themselves from the dispute, can the right hon. Gentleman say how soon he will be ready to make a further statement after his consideration of the subject? Secondly, will he remind the Chancellor how much most of these disputes—whatever their complications— owe to the fiscal policies of the Government?

Mr. Macleod

I do not accept the last part of that supplementary question at all. In reply to the first part, I recognise the public interest there is in this matter and the public inconvenience which can be caused, but it was doubtful whether the dispute came within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Order. I am resolving that point as quickly as possible.

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

So that the House and the general public may be better informed about the controversy, will my right hon. Friend consider publishing the rates of pay at present paid to the members of the Musicians' Union?

Mr. Macleod

I should have thought that they were fairly well known. They have appeared from time to time in the Press.