HC Deb 04 December 1969 vol 792 cc1677-8
7. Mr. Dudley Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what further consultations she plans to have with the Confederation of British Industry over the forthcoming Industrial Relations Bill; and if she will make a statement.

29. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will make a statement on the progress of discussions with the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress on the proposed legislation on trade unions.

Mrs. Castle

Consultations on detailed proposals made by the Government are now taking place with both the C.B.I. and T.U.C.

Mr. Smith

Can the right hon. Lady confirm that she will publish a White Paper before the Bill? Will she also confirm that, contrary to the Government's undertaking last summer that there would be no penal sanctions in the Bill, there will be such sanctions but that they will be purely discriminatory and levelled against one side only—the employers'?

Mrs. Castle

I will consider the need for publishing a White Paper. The hon. Gentleman knows that consultations are only just beginning in this very important matter and it would be wrong for me to anticipate the outcome with regard to the second part of the supplementary question.

Mr. Hamilton

Can my right hon. Friend give any idea as to when the Bill is likely to be published? Does she recognise that there is a good deal of urgency in the matter in the sense that many firms, particularly in Scotland, flatly refuse to recognise trade unions and this is creating the potential for and, indeed, the certainty of very bad industrial relations?

Mrs. Castle

I cannot at this stage give a date for publication of the Bill because, as I have said, the consultations are only just beginning, the proposals are far-reaching and detailed and will require considerable amount of discussion with the T.U.C. and the C.B.I. The recognition question is tremendously important. This is why we have not waited for publication of the Bill. As my hon. Friend is aware, the C.I.R. is dealing with a number of recognition references I have made to it.