HC Deb 08 December 1965 vol 722 cc404-5
20. Mr. G. Campbell

asked the Minister of Aviation what action he is taking to enable air services to the north of Scotland and the Islands to be continued on days when firemen and porters at certain airports within his responsibility are on strike.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

I greatly regret the inconvenience caused to the public by these lightning and unofficial strikes. When they occur it is not possible to make arrangements at short notice, consistent with safety to enable air services to continue. I am glad to say, however, that the men have always undertaken to provide adequate fire service cover for air ambulance services.

Mr. Campbell

Is the Minister aware that on these occasions air services to and from the north of Scotland are completely halted? Will he give high priority to finding a remedy to this situation?

Mr. Jenkins

Yes. I am aware of that and I greatly regret it, and I am very anxious to find a remedy by which these strikes will not continue to occur.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there seems to be a considerable amount of public sympathy for these men because, judging by what has been said to the public, they seem to be treated unfairly in comparison with other employees of the Ministry? Would he get somebody to obtain the facts about this so that we may know whether there is any justification for these suggestions? If there is a justification, could it not be removed?

Mr. Jenkins

There are very difficult questions of comparison involved—whether comparison is made with equivalent men at London Airport or with firemen doing the same job employed elsewhere, or by Glasgow Corporation. It is not a simple issue, but we are anxious to arrive at a solution, and I believe that talks are going on at the moment.