HC Deb 26 April 1965 vol 711 cc10-1
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?

Mr. Gunter

No, Sir. I do not accept that implication at all.