HC Deb 25 March 1971 vol 814 cc868-9
15. Mr. Adam Butler

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of strikes in 1970 was due to demarcation or similar inter-union disputes; and how this figure compares with previous years.

Mr. Bryan

Figures are compiled for demarcation disputes as a whole but not separately for inter-union disputes. Complete analyses for 1970 showing the cause of stoppage are not yet available; they are due to be published in the May issue of the Department's Gazette.

Mr. Butler

Is my hon. Friend aware that there has been a diminution of this type of dispute over the past few years, and that much of that is due to the work of the T.U.C.? But would he not agree also that a reduction in the number of unions would be helpful to a further reduction in this type of dispute? What steps can his Department take, either directly or indirectly, to bring that about?

Mr. Bryan

The general process of amalgamation has gone on over the years, but probably more important is that the unions should be of a sufficient size to meet the needs of their members. I would certainly agree with my hon. Friend. I think that all hon. Members would want to acknowledge the role of the T.U.C. in inter-union disputes. The Bridlington Agreement of the T.U.C. and the T.U.C. constitution provide for action on all kinds of disputes between affiliated unions. The Government certainly want that there.

Mrs. Castle

But is the hon. Gentleman aware that it was just because of the increasing effectiveness of the T.U.C. in dealing with inter-union disputes that the proposals in "In Place Of Strife" for other methods of dealing with them were dropped?

Mr. Bryan

Despite what the right hon. Lady said, the efforts of the T.U.C. are clearly inadequate when one sees what has occurred. That is why we have introduced a Bill which will improve the position.

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