HC Deb 24 July 1967 vol 751 cc49-51
39. Mr. Dance

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will give an assurance that in the current negotiations on the pay of the staff of the Refreshment Department, full account will be taken of the extra and long hours of duty which late sittings of the House have recently imposed on them.

Mr. Maxwell

I have been asked to reply.

Yes, such matters as long and irregular hours will certainly be taken into account. I would remind the hon. Member, however, that while the burden of long regular hours falls on our permanent staff, the demands of late-night sittings are mainly met by the use on a large scale of casual staff. I think all hon. Members would agree with me in paying tribute to the service given to us by the Refreshment Department Manager and staff, both permanent and casual.

Mr. Dance

Would the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that when this award is made it will be backdated not later than 1st July? Will he also have a word with the Leader of the House to ensure that he arranges business more efficiently in future?

Mr. Speaker

Order. Members should not anticipate other hon. Member's Questions.

Mr. Maxwell

I cannot give the assurance sought by the hon. Gentleman because of the financial circumstances of the Department. The arranging of business is a matter for the Leader of the House.

41. Sir Knox Cunningham

asked the Lord President of the Council what are the particular reasons for the present situation in the Kitchen Committee which make it impossible to backdate to 1st July or earlier the promised increase in pay to the staff of the Catering Department of the House of Commons.

Mr. Maxwell

I have been asked to reply.

These reasons are simply the financial position of the Department. I hope, however, to have the proposed increases in force when the House re-assembles after the Summer Recess.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Will the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee bear in mind that pay increases outside the House are being backdated and that we as good employers should treat our catering staff properly? Will he reconsider this decision and backdate the award to at least 1st July, if not earlier?

Mr. Maxwell

I cannot give an assurance for the reasons which I have stated. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has been in contact with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I hope to hear what the Chancellor of the Exchequer is willing and able to do for the Department before the House rises. The minute I hear about it I will be in a better position to state what, if anything, can be done about backdating any wage award which may be given in the Department.