HC Deb 04 February 1963 vol 671 cc27-8
31. Mr. Hocking

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the measures taken to improve relations in the motor industry.

Mr. Hare

I had a further meeting on 28th January with representatives of employers and trade unions to discuss relations in the industry. Since the last meeting progress has been made with practical measures to promote better relations, including improved training of supervisors and shop stewards and strengthening of personnel departments. The employers and unions have decided to set up a joint working group on industrial relations to continue the study of measures already initiated, and to discuss ideas for further improvements.

Mr. Hocking

Will my right hon. Friend say whether he will be represented on this group in any way and whether its findings will be reported to him?

Mr. Hare

I shall not be represented on this group. This is a small informal group which will consist of representatives of employers and trade unions. On the other hand, both sides of the industry have told me that they will keep me in the closest touch. This is a very desirable development and it will do much to help to improve relations in the motor oar industry.

Mr. Edelman

While welcoming the Minister's initiative, will he, in the in- terests of good relations inside the motor industry, confirm two points: first, that the vast majority of shop stewards are doing a good job in the motor industry; and, secondly, that all that is necessary in order to establish a new climate of opinion in the industry and to obtain stability is to make organic changes, such as changes in the wage structure and also in redundancy payments?

Mr. Hare

Those are the sort of questions which would be discussed by this small informal group, which has no power as such but which can give useful advise.

I am grateful for what the hon. Gentleman said in the first part of his supplementary question to the effect that these efforts had achieved some results. I think that shop stewards can easily be maligned because of the activities of a few dissidents who have no responsibility and who cause much trouble. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is wrong to blame shop stewards as a whole, but that it is perfectly right to blame those who are, in fact, causing immense trouble, thereby damaging not only their fellow workers but the whole structure of trades unions.