HC Deb 17 March 1969 vol 780 cc37-9
50. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many labour disputes occurred in the motor industry in Scotland in 1968; how many man-hours were involved in respect of those on strike and those laid off in conesquence; and what were the comparable figures for 1967, 1966 and 1965, respectively.

Mr. Hattersley

In 1968, there were 17 recorded stoppages arising from disputes resulting in a total loss of 120 thousand man-days or about one million hours at the establishments where the disputes occurred. The breakdown between the 4,700 workers directly involved and the 11,900 consequentially laid off is not available. There were 12 stoppages in 1967, 11 in 1966 and 19 in 1965 resulting respectively in 19, 66 and 52 thousand working days lost.

Mr. Taylor

Are not these figures quite serious? Would the Minister say how they compare with industry generally? In view of the recent reports that expansion of the Scottish motor industry might be affected by our labour record, would he inquire into the reasons for these strikes?

Mr. Hattersley

Of course, these figures are serious. This is a serious position which is representative of the motor industry as a whole, but my right hon. Friend is involved in many processes, not the least of which are the proposals in her White Paper, "In Place of Strife", which she hopes and believes will help to end this situation.

Mr. Orme

Can my hon. Friend give the comparable figures for sickness and injury in this industry over that period?

Mr. Hattersley

I cannot give that comparison, but if my hon. Friend asked me to do so in order to suggest that the strike days lost are unimportant I say this to him: both those causes of days lost are matters which my right hon. Friend must and will try to remedy.

Mr. Scott

Do not the original Answer plus the Ford dispute plus the trade figures last week all underline the need for urgent action? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we on this side of the House will co-operate if he can persuade his right hon. Friend to introduce a Bill this Session to deal with this most serious aspect of the breakdown in industrial relations in this country?

Mr. Hattersley

I think the hon. Gentleman is doing the House and the country a disservice if he implies that the passage of any Bill that my right hon. Friend might construct or that he and his right hon. Friends might construct would immediately bring an end to this serious problem. What my right hon. Friend believes is that her proposals will attack the causes rather than the symptoms of these difficulties, but that is essentially a long-term rather than a short-term remedy.

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