§ 5. Mr. Redmond
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many wage settlements known to the Department have been made within the £1 plus 4 per cent. prescribed for stage 2 of the counter-inflation policy; and how many people are covered by them.
§ Mr. Maurice Macmillan
One hundred and seven settlements involving some 2.9 million workers are apparently within the limits of £1 per week plus 4 per cent. plus any additional increases permissible under stage 2 of the policy. But the application of the stage 2 limits is a matter for the Pay Board and the figures given are subject to the views of the board.
§ Mr. Redmond
Surely this matter is too important to leave the figures to the views of the Pay Board. Cannot we have the full figures published and made widely known? In view of the obvious acceptance of stage 2 by a large number 970 of workers, does my right hon. Friend care to comment on today's strike?
§ Mr. Macmillan
The fact that the figures must come from the Pay Board derives from the fact that Parliament has given the Pay Board the responsibility of ensuring that the code is implemented. Therefore prior notification, and notification of settlements already reached, according to the size of the firm concerned, is made to the Pay Board. The Pay Board, as the House will know, will make a quarterly report which will be available to the House and which will be available for discussion. I think my hon. Friend can take these figures as being as accurate as is possible to get.
The strike that is taking place today is, as those who are members of the trade unions concerned have said, a political demonstration of disapproval of a policy rather than industrial action to obtain an industrial end.