HC Deb 30 January 1973 vol 849 cc1150-1
15. Mr. John Page

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what consultations his Department has had with other interested bodies on the recommendations made in the Commission on Industrial Relations report on industrial relations training.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

Discussions have already started with the education Departments and the Commission on Industrial Relations. A meeting with senior officials of industrial training boards has been arranged for mid-February and approaches are being made to other principal bodies concerned.

Mr. Page

I do not think that I fully heard the reply from my hon. Friend because of the noise. However, will he give an assurance that, whatever changes are made in the methods of industrial training, industrial relations training will not be shut out?

Mr. Chichester-Clark

No; indeed, my hon. Friend was not able to hear the whole reply. What I said—this meets his concern, which I fully understand—was that there would be a meeting between senior officials and industrial training boards in mid-February to discuss these very subjects.

Mr. Robert C. Brown

Would not the Minister agree that it would be a good thing for his right hon. Friend to take a short, sharp crash course in industrial relations training, which might prevent his taking such arbitrary action as forbidding the management of the British gas industry to negotiate with the unions without any legislative power to do so? It cannot be denied that this decision has clearly caused the present disruption in the gas industry.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

That is rather a different question. My right hon. Friend did not in fact forbid anyone. But in regard to courses on industrial relations training, I hope that there are some who will look at the motes in their own eyes.