HC Deb 22 June 1964 vol 697 cc9-10
12. Mr. Jeger

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works why he has rejected the request for a 42-hour week by the civilian employees of his Department in Gibraltar; and why the request for arbitration in accordance with the constitution of the Joint Industrial Council has not been accepted.

Mr. Sharples

This claim was first made in 1962 and was rejected by the employers' side of the Joint Industrial Council, which at that time comprised the three Service Departments, the Gibraltar Government and the City Council.

The claim was renewed in February of this year, and is still under consideration by the official side of the Joint Industrial Council, which now includes the Ministry of Public Building and Works. No reply has yet been given to the trade union side and it is therefore premature to consider reference to arbitration.

Mr. Jeger

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there are two issues here: first, that it is alleged that other employees of the Government in Gibraltar, other than local civilian employees, are already working a 42-hour week and, consequently, there are different grades of workers doing the same job of work but on different bases and under different conditions? Secondly, that local faith in agreements freely arrived at with regard to wages, conditions and submission of disputes to arbitration will be shaken unless something is dose to abide by J.I.C. agreements.

Mr. Sharples

The first point made by the hon. Gentleman is a matter which will be taken into consideration. With regard to the J.I.C. agreements, one of the difficulties is that the J.I.C. on the employers' side is made up of a number of bodies. These matters are under consideration at the present time.