HC Deb 08 March 1960 vol 619 cc242-3
43. Mr. Grimond

asked the Prime Minister if he will direct the appropriate Departments to open consultations with the trade unions over methods of fixing wages in the nationalised industries.

The Prime Minister

Machinery for fixing wages and other conditions of employment in the nationalised industries is, in accordance with the nationalising Statutes, settled by agreement between both sides in each industry.

Mr. Grimond

Will not the Prime Minister agree that there are many industries which are not expanding—some are not even profitable—and, indeed, industries in the private sector as well as the public sector in which there is a problem of attracting and keeping adequate labour, especially skilled labour, in competing with industries which pay higher wages? Would not he agree that the general problem is not satisfactorily dealt with by Committees like the Guillebaud Committee, whose Reports almost invariably spark off a leap-frogging progress, which leads to trouble generally?

The Prime Minister

Of course, the hon. Gentleman has referred to what is a large problem in our economy, especially in our expanding economy, and I do not feel able to deal with it by Question and Answer.