HC Deb 26 April 1965 vol 711 cc15-6
11. Mr. John Page

asked the Minister of Labour what discussion he is at present having with the trade unions in order to get rid of restrictive practices, which is one of the objectives of the Joint Statement of Intent on Productivity Prices and Incomes of 16th December, 1964.

Mr. Gunter

The representatives of managements and unions who signed the Joint Statement of Intent undertook to "encourage and lead a sustained attack on the obstacles to efficiency, whether on the part of management or of workers".

I have already discussed some matters affecting the efficient use of manpower with representatives of managements and unions on my National Joint Advisory Council and we propose to consider the whole subject further at an early meeting.

Mr. Page

The Minister gave us a rather cagey answer on this. When he next discusses the question of restrictive practices, will he ask for some promises to be given for their removal in exchange for the fringe benefits offered under the Redundancy Payments Bill which is to be discussed later today?

Mr. Gunter

I do not think that one can ever remove restrictive practices by bargaining of that character. We are attempting to come to terms with some of the main problems—excessive overtime, shift working, etc.—through the National Joint Advisory Council, and the atmosphere is improving. The best way to proceed is not to enter into bargains about these things but to try to get the right atmosphere in which we can tackle the problem.

Mr. Ronald Bell

What discussions is the right hon. Gentleman now having with, for example, the Ministry of Transport and the railway unions in order to get the liner trains started? Is not the way that this particular restrictive practice has dragged on and on really a disgrace?

Mr. Gunter

If the hon. and learned Gentleman wishes to ask about that, he had better put down a Question.