HC Deb 10 April 1967 vol 744 cc735-6
44. Mr. Dickens

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the progress made with implementing the recommendations of the Devlin Report relating to decasualisation, the future wage structure and the basic fall-back rate for dockworkers.

Mr. Hattersley

The changes in the National Dock Labour Scheme needed for decasualisation have been agreed by the National Modernisation Committee. The initial licensing of employers under the Docks and Harbours Act, 1966, is proceeding, and is expected to be completed within the next three months in the majority of ports. The new pay structure recommended by the 1966 Devlin Report to accompany decasualisation has been accepted by both sides of the industry and endorsed in principle by the Government. The Government has made it clear however that implementation of the pay proposals must be subject to incomes policy, and is conditional upon the industry reaching specific agreement for the elimination of restrictive working practices. Negotiations for this purpose are going ahead in the ports.

Mr. Dickens

On the pay issue, is my hon. Friend aware that the delay in arriving at a settlement is causing deep dissatisfaction in the London docks and also hindering a significant advance in productivity? Will he use his best endeavours to expedite progress by dropping the Government's incomes policy in this respect?

Mr. Hattersley

I do not understand the reference to delay. I can give my hon. Friend an assurance that the Government's incomes policy will not be abandoned.