HC Deb 12 April 1965 vol 710 cc933-4
12. Mr. Heffer

asked the Minister of Labour what consideration he has given to representations made to him on behalf of work people in the building industry by the hon. Member for Walton, on the effects of the Contracts of Employment Act, 1964; and what changes in the Act he now contemplates.

Mr. Thornton

Most strikes, including official strikes, are probably in breach of the workers' contracts of employment. The Redundancy Payments Bill includes a provision to amend the Contracts of Employment Act so that strikes in breach of contract no longer break the period of continuous employment on which a worker's rights to notice depend.

Mr. Heffer

Will my hon. Friend take that this will be very welcome in the building industry and, I am sure, in other industries, because the problem has caused a great deal of difficulty among building operatives and the Clause now to be introduced will create greater harmony in the building industry?

Mr. Thornton

I thank my hon. Friend for what he says, but I ought to make it clear that we had this question under consideration before receiving the representations from workers in the building industry to which he drew our attention.

Mr. Godber

Has any harm come to employees through the operation of the Contracts of Employment Act in cases of this kind, or is this merely a preventive measure which it is proposed to introduce by the Bill?

Mr. Thornton

There is considerable apprehension among workers at present.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Will the new Clause apply to unofficial as well as to official strikes?

Mr. Thornton

Yes. I made that clear in my original Answer.