HC Deb 27 November 1973 vol 865 cc204-5
21 Mr. Dormand

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will offer to conciliate in the disputes concerning certain persons employed by English and Overseas Hotels Limited.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

My Department successfully conciliated during the past week in a dispute involving an employee of English and Overseas Hotels Limited.

Mr. Dormand

May I thank the Minister's officials for the valuable work which they did in the case in question? Is he aware of the unsavoury practices carried out by this firm, such as offering council houses with advertised vacancies when it has no authority to do so from the local authority? Is he further aware of the disgraceful treatment which one of my constituents has had from this firm? He was given three different reasons for his dismissal, but none of them appears to have any foundation. Finally, does the Minister know that the chairman of this firm is greatly lacking in courtesy in not replying to a Member's letters, and in simply referring them to a solicitor whose replies are so brief as to be rude? What can he do about a firm like this?

Mr. Chichester-Clark

The hon. Gentleman is normally a model of courtesy, but I am quite sure that he is able to stand on his own feet and deal with discourtesy as he meets it. As regards the offer of council houses, I think the hon. Gentleman knows that the company denies having made a promise about council house accommodation. As regards compensation, I understand that the settlement was made by way of an ex gratia payment without any acceptance of liability by the company, and was acceptable to the constituent concerned. I think that I have answered most of the questions of the hon. Gentleman, who managed to get a great many into one supplementary.