§ 1. Mr. Booth
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will seek to amend the Redundancy Payments Act so as to prevent an employer who is reducing staff from transferring employees to other jobs and dismissing from those jobs employees who have served less than, or little more than, the minimum qualifying period under the Act, unless such transfers are provided for by an agreement between the employer and the trade unions representing those who are dismissed.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Employment (Mr. Paul Bryan)
No, Sir. Procedures for dealing with redundancies are a matter appropriate for voluntary negotiation.
§ Mr. Booth
Can the Minister conceive of the resentment felt by a man who is sacked from a factory after a year's employment so that a man from a department which is to be closed down can be transferred into his job, solely because that man would, if dismissed, have a very high redundancy payments claim? Does he appreciate that this practice can militate against a man's chances of ever being employed long enough to have a proper redundancy entitlement? Will he consider whether its effect may be to establish the policy of last in, first out, on a much wider basis than has ever been contemplated hitherto?
§ Mr. Bryan
I quite appreciate the situation that the hon. Gentleman described. I hope that it is not widespread, and I think that it probably is not, although I shall be glad to go into any cases he wishes to bring forward. I think that the general rule arrived at in negotiation between employer and employee is that those who arrive last, go first. In that case, what he said would not obtain in any well-run establishment. Negotiations between trade unions and employers would come to a proper arrangement on that.