HC Deb 28 April 1966 vol 727 cc949-50
Q7. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the official meeting, over which he presided in mid-March, concerning the structure of railwaymen's pay.

The Prime Minister

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement issued from 10 Downing Street after the meeting, a copy of which is in the Library.

Mr. Marten

Would the Prime Minister say whether the main discussions, as opposed to discussions about the agenda, have yet started on the problems which gave rise to the strike, and whether these will include the question of liner trains?

The Prime Minister

In the meeting I held—which is the subject of the Ques- tion—we dealt with the whole issue of how talks could be organised about relating pay to productivity, and productivity to pay. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour is following this up and is already in close consultation with the parties concerned. On the question of liner trains and other matters affecting productivity, my right hon. Friend has also had meetings and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport has had talks with the unions concerned.

Mr. Heath

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether the talks now to take place on structure are to be on the basis of earnings, as recommended by the Prices and Incomes Board, or on the old Guillebaud formula of actual pay rates?

The Prime Minister

The talks are without commitment. They are to look at the whole question, not merely methods of wage fixation and the relation of wages to productivity but also—if they can extend this far, as I hope—the question of relating pay settlements to future productivity. Whether this will be on an earnings basis or a wage rate basis, is one of the questions to be discussed.

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