HC Deb 21 February 1966 vol 725 cc8-9
16. Mrs. Shirley Williams

asked the Minister of Labour what discussions he has had with the building and construction industry about the application of the Redundancy Payments Act to that industry; and with what results.

41. Mr. Urwin

asked the Minister of Labour what arrangements he has made with the construction industry in connection with the operation of the Redundancy Payments Act.

Mr. Gunter

On 17th December, I had discussions with representatives of both unions and employers about the application of the Redundancy Payments Act, including the provisions for exempting employees covered by agreements making suitable provision for redundancy. The employers and trade unions have since had joint discussions and agreed that they need more information about labour turnover in the industry. They have decided to pursue this with the Economic Development Committees for the industry, which are already discussing arrangements for inquiries on this and related studies.

Mrs. Williams

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his detailed Answer, may I ask him if he does not agree that it suggests that the casual nature of the trade is one of the great difficulties in making redundancy schemes work, and will it now be possible to bring groups of firms together in order to engage in a wider spread of redundancy schemes?

Mr. Gunter

On the latter part of my hon. Friend's question, we have already made provision for that. On the first part, we think that there could be greater decasualisation throughout the whole industry.

Mr. Urwin

I thank my right hon. Friend for his replies to the Question and to the supplementary question, but does he not agree that the high degree of mobility in the construction industry is a very large contributory factor to the difficulties about the Redundancy Payments Act? If so, should he not take early steps to decasualise the construction industry?

Mr. Gunter

Yes, indeed. I accept what my hon. Friend has said.