§ 5. Mr. Ronald Bell
asked the Minister of Labour what encouragement he is giving to the conclusion of long-term wage agreements between management and labour in industry.
§ Mr. Gunter
There are an increasing number of long-term agreements, but I think it is right that each industry should itself decide whether an agreement of this kind is appropriate for its particular circumstances.
§ Mr. Bell
While accepting that the right hon. Gentleman's Department has no responsibility for taking the initiative in these matters, may I ask whether he will not agree that these long-term agreements can be very helpful both to the incomes policy of his right hon. Friend the First Secretary and also for the general fostering of good relations in industry?
§ Mr. Gunter
If I may use the words "stability and moderation", which we require at present, they are not confined to industries where there are long-term agreements. Such agreements may set a very good example if the increases recommended or given are moderate, but there are many other moderate agreements which are not long-term. Experience of long-term agreements in the context of an incomes policy may in time point to some general conclusions and to their value, but it would be a little premature to generalise on this.
§ Mr. Ridsdale
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the recent pay award to Post Office workers will have a bad effect on long-term agreements, and will not this be referred to the Incomes and Prices Commission?