HC Deb 18 February 1963 vol 672 c21
31. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of of Aviation if he will inquire into the causes of unrest and discontent which presently exist among the civil air traffic control officers in the employment of his Department, with a view to remedying them.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aviation (Mr. Neil Marten)

No, Sir. I see no reason to institute a special inquiry. Facilities for consultation already exist in the Departmental Whitley machinery.

Mr. Rankin

A few minutes ago the Minister of Aviation referred to the air traffic control difficulties in establishing an airport on Tees-side. Does he realise that those difficulties arise from the fact that, owing to this discontent, only 800 officers are now employed on the control side as against the minimum of 1,000 required if safety regulations and the demands of traffic are adequately to be met?

Mr. Marten

I am certainly not unaware of the feelings of these people, but I think the hon. Gentleman would agree that in broad principle it would be better to use the existing machinery to express feelings of that sort.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Leaving the machinery aside, is my hon. Friend satisfied, in view of the tremendous responsibility carried by the men with their remuneration and general conditions of work compared with other leading countries? Will he look into this?

Mr. Marten

A pay claim by the air traffic control officers was recently decided by the Civil Service arbitration tribunal. The tribunal awarded an increase in pay averaging 6 per cent. and the award has now been implemented. But I will certainly look into what my hon. Friend says.