HC Deb 07 June 1972 vol 838 cc450-1
37. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what discussions he had with the Civil Service unions on Regulation 2653/71/EEC of 11th December, 1971, dealing with the adjustment of the remuneration and pensions of officials of the European Communities and the remuneration of other servants of the Communities; what machinery exists under which those unions can propose alterations or amendments; and whether the House of Commons will be able to alter or amend it.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

It would not be appropriate for me to discuss this regulation with the Civil Service unions. On the last part of the Question I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 25th May, 1972.—[Vol. 837, c. 481.]

Mr. Lewis

That is an astounding reply. Is the hon. Gentleman telling the House that the Civil Service unions are not entitled to discuss the matters affecting their hours, wages and conditions? Suppose that they want to refer a matter to the National Industrial Relations Court. Are we to take it that Brussels is to supersede the Industrial Relations Act and have power over our own industrial courts? Do the Government intend to do nothing to help their own civil servants concerning wages and conditions?

Mr. Baker

The hon. Member has broadened the subject rather widely. The staff of British nationals who will work in Brussels will number about 600 to 700, only some of whom will be civil servants. They will be employees of the Commission and will not be members of the British Civil Service. This is not therefore a matter for the Civil Service unions.

Sir G. Nabarro

Six hundred to 700 bureaucrats in Brussels? Are they to have salaries, terms and conditions analogous to the bureaucrats at the United Nations? Will they be free of national taxation liability and thereby have an advantage over their compatriots who opt to serve at home?

Mr. Baker

I confirm the figures I have given. It is likely that the full complement of the British delegation in Brussels will be between 600 and 700. We are very concerned that they should not all be civil servants but that some of them should have experience in business, in the trade unions and in other walks of life so that the delegation's contribution on behalf of the national interest shall be as great as possible.