HC Deb 25 February 1959 vol 600 cc1112-3
39. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that a number of industrial disputes have taken place recently on the question of redundancy, and that most of these could have been avoided if joint consultations had taken place before the notices were given; and if he will call the attention of all employers to the advisability of adopting this course before taking action likely to lead to a dispute.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I am aware that from time to time there are disputes over questions of redundancy. While I do not wholly accept the implication of the second part of the Question, I have always been strongly in favour of early consultation wherever it is practicable, and have on a number of occasions called the attention of industry to this point.

Mr. Awbery

While I share the desire that there should be joint consultation between employers and workmen, may I ask the Minister if he is aware that employers very often implement suggestions in the letter but not in the spirit? When there is intention to dismiss more than 10 men, would the right hon. Gentleman ask employers to meet his representatives together with the employees to discuss the matter?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think that there can be, or that there should be, that sort of instruction from the Government to employers. It is my job, and I have tried through such booklets as "Positive Employment Policies", which the hon. Member no doubt knows— if not, I will send him a copy— to draw the attention of employers to the desirability in their own interest, quite apart from anything else, of having the earliest consultation upon all matters affecting the labour force.