§ 13. Mr. Frank Allaun
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if he is aware of the dispute between the Co-operative Insurance Society and its agents; and what action he proposes to take in the matter.
§ Mrs. Joyce Butler
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if he will make a further statement on action taken by his Department in connection with the dispute between the Co-operative Insurance Society and its agents.
§ Mr. Bryan
I would refer the hon. Members to my reply of 9th July to the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell). Officers of my Department have maintained close touch with the parties following the joint meeting under departmental chairmanship on 29th June. The T.U.C. has seen both sides and is now exploring the possibility of a meeting between the two parties.—[Vol. 803, c. 831–2.]
§ Mr. Allaun
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that despite Mr. Feather's intervention, there has still been no development? Is he aware that in many districts the girl clerks are now on strike against being asked to do "blacked" work and that, as a result, the C.I.S. will be unable to fulfil its obligations unless it makes some move on what is a very moderate claim?
§ Mr. Bryan
I am aware that the position is getting increasingly serious. The conciliation officers of my Department only last week met the parties again offering once more the possibility of Departmental chairmanship of a meeting, but that has not been considered profitable at the moment. I can only repeat the assurance that we are closely in touch with the situation and will do everything we can to help.
§ Mrs. Butler
As this is a serious situation, with damaging effects on all concerned, is not this an appropriate time for the hon. Gentleman to take the initiative to convene a fresh conference with both parties to the dispute in an attempt to reach a settlement?