HC Deb 21 February 1968 vol 759 cc422-3
19. Mr. Webster

asked the Minister of Transport what is the manpower requirement of the National Freight Corporation; and how many will be transferred from British Railways and how many recruited from other sources.

Mrs. Castle

The manpower of the National Freight Corporation on vesting day, on the best estimate that can be made this far in advance, will be about 66,500, of which about 27,500 will be transferred from British Railways, and the other 39,000 from the Transport Holding Company.

Mr. Webster

What is the Minister doing to make sure, through inter-trade union discussion, that there is no dislocation of the National Freight Corporation as a result of dissension between the unions?

Mrs. Castle

I have had many discussions with the trade unions on the principles behind my policy. Detailed discussions on the guarantees to their staff and the implications for their staff are commencing.

Mr. Buchanan

Can my right hon. Friend assure us that the pension rights and service rights of the transferred staff, together with the travelling facilities enjoyed by the employees of British Railways, will be maintained?

Mrs. Castle

Certainly. We have no intention that the staff shall suffer. But the details of how fast and how far we can move towards common conditions of service, which is an issue involved in this question that my hon. Friend has raised, must be for consultation with the unions.