§ 18. Mr. Roy Hughes
asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, if, in view of the fact that merit awards in industry cause anxiety to all workers, particularly to non-manual workers, inasmuch as they lead to general depressing of wages and salaries, he will give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government will not seek to introduce such a system.
§ Mr. Frederick Lee
Subject to the requirements of the prices and incomes policy, the extent of such arrangements is for industry itself to determine.
§ Mr. Hughes
Is my hon. Friend aware that so-called merit awards are used by employers to detract from legitimate trade union claims and to discourage trade union membership, particularly so in the case of non-manual white-collar workers?
§ Mr. Lee
I have had some dealings with this kind of thing myself. I would not have thought it was true that it in any way militates against the agreements that trade unions negotiate. I know that at times there can be the feeling that one or two people are blue-eyed boys when they get this type of award, but this is not an issue which we should seek to take out of the hands of employers and trade unions.