HC Deb 21 February 1966 vol 725 cc13-4
22. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Labour if he will introduce a Bill designed to contain the restrictive practices of labour along the lines of the Restrictive Practices Act and to extend the power of the existing court to deal with the restrictive practices of labour.

47. Mr. Longden

asked the Minister of Labour if he will introduce legislation to prevent trade unions insisting upon machines which could be operated by semi-skilled labour being manned by skilled labour.

Mr. Gunter

No. Legislation is not the way to tackle these problems.

Mr. Shepherd

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that there is no labour shortage in the country except the labour shortage that we ourselves are making? It is perfectly useless to go on hoping that pious exhortation is going to have any result. If the right hon. Gentleman cannot put pressure on employers and unions together by means of legislation, we will lose out in the industrial battle.

Mr. Gunter

The hon. Member assumes that legislation would work in this matter. I again assert that until we have had a look at all the aspects of industrial relations, one simply cannot do it. Greater efficiency in working and better industrial relations will start only on the workshop floor level, and all the politicians in the world will not alter that by legislation.

Sir K. Joseph

Since the Government have shuffled off their responsibilities to a Royal Commission which, in the words of the Prime Minister, will take minutes and waste years, will the Minister not at least undertake to follow up systematically all restrictive practices of the like found by the Prices and Incomes Board and indicated in its various reports?

Mr. Gunter

I thought that I had already indicated that it is what we are doing, with the co-operation of management and unions.

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