HC Deb 01 July 1968 vol 767 cc1076-7
34. Mr. Moonman

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many productivity agreements have been examined by her Department up to the latest available date in 1968; and what proportion she has approved.

Mrs. Castle

By 21st June, 1968, my Department had dealt with 1,192 productivity cases in the application of the Government's policy for productivity, prices and incomes, of which 1,098 had been approved.

Mr. Moonman

While being grateful to my right hon. Friend for that Answer, may I ask her to make an early statement about the proportion of agreements that include provisions for non-process workers like supervisory, specialist and sales staff? Is she satisfied that she has sufficient staff in her Department to do this job?

Mrs. Castle

If my hon. Friend will table a Question on the first part of his supplementary question, I will do my best to answer it. To answer the second part, I am confident that the setting up of the new productivity department will put us in a very strong position to deal with what I hope will be the increasing number of productivity deals which will come before us.

Mr. Heffer

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It is bad enough for us not to have any amplification in the Chamber, but might I point out that the temperature in the Chamber seems to be much higher? It seems that the air conditioning system is not functioning. Could that be looked into as well?

Mr. Speaker

The matter will be attended to.

44. Mr. Moonman

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity, in view of the dangers of false productivity agreements, if she will issue further guidance to employers' and trade unions' organisations to bring again to their attention the criteria previously set out in the Prices and Incomes White Papers.

Mrs. Castle

Guidelines drawn up by the National Board for Prices and Incomes are set out in Appendix II to the recent White Paper "Policy for Productivity, Prices and Incomes in 1968 and 1969", Cmnd. 3590, and are brought to the notice of industry by my officers both in examining claims and also in the course of providing general advice on industrial relations matters. A leaflet based on the National Board's report on productivity agreements has been prepared by the Board and widely distributed.

Mr. Moonman

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that, while many of our fellow trade unionists take great care in the preparation of productivity agreements, there are some who do not, and would she not also agree that "phoney" productivity agreements are better than none at all?

Mrs. Castle

I agree that they are very little better, and that is why my productivity department will have a very important rôle to play in ensuring that we get discussions between unions and managements on productivity agreements on an expert basis.