HC Deb 22 February 1965 vol 707 cc11-2
11. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Minister of Labour what discussions he has had with the Trades Union Congress and the Employers' Confederation to get more shift working and a better use of industrial labour, with less restrictions on both sides of industry; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gunter

This is one of a number of aspects of industrial efficiency which I intend to discuss with my National Joint Advisory Council on which both the B.E.C. and the T.U.C. are represented.

Sir C. Osborne

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is impossible for industries such as those in Lancashire to compete with those in the Far East when our country is working only one shift for five days and they are working three shifts for seven days? Would not the right hon. Gentleman expose both the employers and the trade unions which refuse to work the machinery properly as enemies of the State? What sanction has he against them—none?

Mr. Gunter

I am bound to agree that where capital costs are high shift work can often make a very important contribution to competitive efficiency, and it is, therefore, important that management and employees should be prepared to co-operate in its introduction in appropriate circumstances. One of the difficulties which always arises on shift work is how to compensate the man who works shifts and thereby loses some of his family or social life. This is one of the problems employers must face.

Mr. Frank Allaun

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that to describe men and women whose whole health, family life and social life will be disrupted by night work as "enemies of the State" is going much too far?

Hon. Members