HC Deb 12 May 1971 vol 817 cc355-6
8. Mr. Kenneth Baker

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications what general directions he intends to give to the Post Office Corporation arising from the recommendations of the Hardman Committee.

Mr. Chataway

None, Sir; a general direction would not be appropriate. In any case, the Post Office has undertaken to accept the recommendations.

Mr. Baker

Has my right hon. Friend seen those sections of the report which say that the management side and union side in the Post Office have a cosy relationship which leads to inefficiency, excessive overtime and falling productivity? As this is not the first time such comments have been made about the Post Office, what does he intend to do about it?

Mr. Chataway

Obviously, I am discussing the Hardman Committee's Report with the Post Office, which recognises its value and also recognises that there is now a unique opportunity to reconsider the structure and scope of the Post Office services appropriate to the 1970s.

Mr. Charles Morris

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, following the Report of the Hardman Committee, one distinguished member of the Post Office staff side said that the Post Office staff had lost faith in their employers? What action does the right hon. Gentleman propose to take to restore such faith and to bring about a harmonious relationship between the staff and their employers?

Mr. Chataway

The Hardman Committee makes a number of suggestions which are directed towards that objective, and I know that those suggestions are being taken seriously by the Post Office.

Mr. Gregor Mackenzie

Is the Minister aware that, in the view of many of us, the Report of the Hardman Committee lacked clarity on the important subject of incremental scales, a subject which affects all grades in the Post Office? Could the Minister help by suggesting to the Post Office a precise policy on incremental scales, spelling it out in greater detail?

Mr. Chataway

I am sure that the Post Office will take note of what the hon. Gentleman said.