HC Deb 23 October 1961 vol 646 cc531-2
2. Mr. Marsh

asked the Minister of Health what new instructions he has given to his representatives on the Health Service Whitley Councils in the light of Government policy on wages and salaries in the public service; and what limitations he has imposed on the right of arbitration in cases of disagreement between the two sides.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Enoch Powell)

I have informed both sides of the Whitley Councils that the same principles will be applied to the functioning of the Health Service machinery for determining pay as are being applied in the Civil Service.

Mr. Marsh

Since the Minister of Health already has the right to reject any agreement within the Whitley Council with which he disagrees, why does he refuse to permit the Whitley Councils, management and staff sides, to negotiate operative dates of agreements?

Mr. Powell

It seems to me right that the same principle should be applied in all parts of the Government service.

Mr. K. Robinson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his unilateral action has gone further to destroy the confidence of National Health Service staffs in their negotiating machinery? Is he further aware that his action has had a serious effect on morale within the Service and on recruitment, particularly to those grades where there are serious staff shortages?

Mr. Powell

I am not aware of that, but I shall be seeing representatives of the Whitley Councils later this week and, naturally, I shall listen carefully to what they have to say.

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