HC Deb 04 February 1963 vol 671 cc21-3
30. Mr. Mawby

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will make a statement about the improvement of arrangements for dealing with the problems of redundancy.

Mr. Hare

I discussed this subject with my National Joint Advisory Council on 23rd January. A survey prepared for the Council showed that there has been an increase of more than 50 per cent. in the number of firms with redundancy policies and in the number of workers covered by these policies since the last review three years ago. Existing arrangements, however, are still far short of what is needed.

The Council agreed that the employers, trade unions, nationalised industries and my Ministry should study methods of improving arrangements and discuss their conclusions at the next meeting in April.

Mr. Mawby

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him, first, whether it is proposed to publish the information collected for the National Joint Advisory Council? Secondly, while the results are encouraging, this shows that there is still a need for the Contracts of Employment Bill in order to increase the number of firms with redundancy policies.

Mr. Hare

I agree, naturally, with what my hon. Friend says. Certainly I will arrange to publish any information which I think is of general interest. This subject concerns both sides of the House and the country as a whole, and I certainly would be glad to see as much publicity as possible given to our efforts.

Mr. Gunter

In view of the fact that the National Joint Advisory Council—at least the trade union side of it—has expressed its growing concern that this country was lagging far behind on this question, will the Minister give the widest publicity to the feeling of the trades unions at that National Joint Advisory Council meeting on the question of redundancy? Secondly, in view of the contempt which has been revealed about his approach in the Contracts of Employment Bill, which is related to this matter, not only by the trade unions but by the British Employers' Confederation, will the right hon. Gentleman have second thoughts on that Bill and really give it some meaning?

Mr. Hare

Most certainly not. I would guess that, if the trades unions and the employers dislike it, then it is about right.

Mr. Thorpe

Is it not a scandal that a man, after 30 years' employment, can be sacked with one week's wages? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government have been in power for eleven years now and is it not time that even this Government moved faster in bringing in a national redundancy scheme?

Mr. Hare

If the hon. Gentleman takes the trouble to read the Bill, which is about to be discussed in Parliament, he will see that this is precisely the state of affairs which I wish to alter.

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