HC Deb 26 July 1965 vol 717 cc10-1
13. Mr. Ridsdale

asked the Minister of Labour what has been the result of his inquiry into the unofficial strike at London Airport at Whitsun; and whether he will make a statement concerning this dispute.

Mr. Gunter

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister indicated in his reply to the hon. Member for Walthamstow, East (Mr. John Harvey) on 15th June, I am collecting information about strikes which have affected the travelling public at holiday periods. This will include information about the unofficial strike by employees of British European Airways at Whitsun.

Mr. Ridsdale

Has the Minister seen the Motion on the Order Paper signed by many of my hon. Friends and myself about making collective agreements enforceable at law? Does not he agree that this is the only practical way of dealing with unofficial strikes, and, if he does, will he say when he envisages legislation to that end being introduced?

Mr. Gunter

I have been looking at resolutions and letters of that character for a very long time. I am still not yet in a position to see clearly how the course suggested by the hon. Gentleman could be the proper one at this time. It is not as simple as he imagines to have legislation in this field without further guiding lights.

Mr. Godber

The Minister will agree—he has said so himself—that this was a very serious matter. We discussed it on another occasion only last week and I shall not go over that again, but will he use every endeavour to discourage unofficial strikes in every way possible, including legislation if he can see his way to it?

Mr. Gunter

Of course, I shall do everything I can to stop unofficial strikes, but, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, it is not as easy as all that. On the question of legislation, I can only say, as I said during the passage of the Trade Disputes Bill and on other occasions, that I wish that hon. Members opposite would realise that one can have all the legislation one likes but one will not remove the "old Adam" out of men. We have got to have certain guiding lights about the relationships between the worker, his employer and the State before we can make a move in that direction.