§ 31. Mr. John Page
asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the inconvenience caused to many travellers by the recent trade dispute at London Airport; and if he will make a statement on the causes and the present position.
§ Mr. Godber
Yes, Sir. A strike involving employees of B.O.A.C., B.E.A., and the Shell Oil Company took place at London Airport on 10th July. It arose from a dispute over the arrangements for the parking of employees' cars. The strike caused serious delays and in the case of British European Airways, complete stoppage of their services.
An emergency meeting of the National Joint Council for Civil Air Transport on 13th July, unanimously passed a resolution deploring the strike and calling upon the employees concerned to refrain from further similar action and to take up any grievances they may have through their trade unions and the machinery of the National Joint Council.
I welcome this resolution. I trust that any matters remaining in dispute will be dealt with in accordance with the resolution and that further serious dislocation of air traffic and the consequential hardship to travellers, including large numbers of holiday makers, will be avoided.
§ Mr. Page
Is my right hon. Friend aware that many members of the public, including constituents of mine, who spend an hour or two travelling each day to their work are disgusted by what they consider to be selfishness, pettiness and irresponsibility on the part of these strikers, merely because for a temporary period the space provided for their car park was withdrawn so that a multistorey car park could be built in its place? Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that the official channels for negotiation at London Airport between the trade unions and employers are satisfactory?
§ Mr. Godber
The matter was unsatisfactory, and it is significant that both sides on the National Joint Council have condemned what happened. This clearly shows that the unions and employers both wish to see the position improved. If there is anything I can do to help to improve relations and communications between the parties concerned at London Airport, I shall be happy to do so.