HC Deb 22 February 1965 vol 707 cc9-10
9. Mr. Mitchell

asked the Minister of Labour what is the policy of his Department towards the elimination of restrictive practices.

37. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the progress he has made in his discussions with both sides of industry on the elimination of restrictive practices.

38. Mr. Hamling

asked the Minister of Labour what is his policy on the abolition of restrictive practices by both sides in industry.

39. Mr. Park

asked the Minister of Labour what progress is being made in the implementation of his policy to eliminate restrictive practices at all levels of industry.

Mr. Gunter

I shall give whatever help and encouragement I can to industry in following up the commitment of both employers and unions in the Joint Declaration of Intent to lead a sustained attack on obstacles to efficiency. I am particularly concerned to secure the more efficient use of manpower. The various measures we are taking towards improving the security of workpeople and to assist labour mobility will establish favourable conditions for this.

Mr. Hamling

Will my right hon. Friend take what steps he can to inform public opinion that this process of abolishing restrictive practices is a two-way one and that there are restrictive practices on the part of employers and not just on the part of trade unionists?

Mr. Park

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that under the heading "restrictive practices" comes monopolies, price rings and price leadership agreements, and would he not investigate the possibility of doing something about those as well as the other restrictive practices referred to?

Mr. Gunter

The question of monopolies is not for me, but I can repeat that I will do whatever I can to come to terms with restrictive practices. I am saying a prayer that someone will tell me exactly what is embraced by the term "restrictive practices".

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Will not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, in all this talk of restrictive practices, the prevention by the N.U.R. of road hauliers going to railway terminals to pick up or deliver goods for liner trains is a restrictive practice, and would he not condemn that?

Mr. Gunter

I understand that the matter is still under discussion between Dr. Beeching and the railway unions.

Mr. Hamilton

My right hon. Friend has said that monopolies are not within his purview, but in so far as restrictive practices are within his purview he must be interested in the restrictive practices associated with monopolies. Can he say, therefore, when legislation on monopolies will be introduced; and was any such legislation left by the previous Administration?

Mr. Gunter

I am afraid I cannot say.