HC Deb 01 April 1963 vol 675 cc28-9
43. Mr. Lubbock

asked the Minister of Labour what action he proposes to take in the trade dispute between members of the National Union of Bank Employees on the staff of the London office of the Habib Bank (Overseas) and the management of the bank.

49. Mr. R. Edwards

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of a trades dispute between members of the National Union of Bank Employees and the management of the Habib Bank, Overseas; and whether his Department will use their good offices to suggest arbitration machinery for the settlement of the dispute.

51. Mr. Brockway

asked the Minister of Labour what action he has taken to facilitate a settlement in the dispute between the management of the London office of the Habib National Bank and members of its staff who belong to the National Union of Bank Employees.

Mr. Hare

I understand that during discussions last Friday the union and the bank made some progress towards a settlement of this dispute and that the talks were resumed today. I am sure hon. Members will appreciate that in these circumstances I do not wish to say anything which might prejudice the outcome.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that although the strike has been temporarily settled, the basic cause of the dispute still remains? Will he, therefore, use his good offices, if he is invited to, in helping to create a more permanent settlement?

Mr. Hare

My information is that the strike is not yet settled and that the discussions are still going on. Useful discussions took place on Friday, and they are continuing today. As I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be aware, my offices are available at the request of both sides.

Mr. Edwards

Is the Minister aware that the strike was settled half an hour ago—[Laughter.]—but that two of the employees involved have not been reinstated? Is he also aware that extraordinary pressure was brought to bear in Pakistan on the relatives of strikers, in complete violation of the spirit of the I.L.O.? Will he now seek a complete settlement of this unfortunate dispute, because the differences are now very narrow indeed?

Mr. Hare

The hon. Gentleman, of course, has the advantage over me in that he has not had to attend to his duties in this Chamber for the last hour or so. I was not informed of the news that he has just given us. I will certainly note what he has said and acquaint myself with this "hot" news that he has given to the House.

Mr. Brockway

But is the Minister aware that while a settlement of this dispute was made this morning—[HON. MEMBERS: "Half an hour ago."]—no, this morning—two of the strikers are still dismissal? As 14 days have been allowed for reconsideration of this matter, will the Ministry of Labour, during the next fortnight, use its offices to obtain the reinstatement of men who have been dismissed only for trade union activities?

Mr. Hare

There seems to be some dispute between the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend the Member for Bilston (Mr. R. Edwards) on the actual timing of the settlement. I say to the hon. Member, as I said to his hon. Friend, that I will see what I can usefully do. Until I have a full account of what has happened, however, it would be quite wrong for me to make any further approach.