§ 3. Mr. Tebbit
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in view of the statements by Mr. Buckton given in evidence at the Railways Staffs National Tribunal hearing concerning his union's 16 per cent. pay claim on 25th June, he remains satisfied with the operation of a voluntary social compact.
§ The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Michael Foot)
Mr. Buckton has made it clear that the TUC General Council's report on "Collective Bargaining and the Social Contract" issued on 26th June has his full support. I have talked with him on the subject and I am sure that some of the views he quite naturally expressed at the tribunal have been considerably misinterpreted.
§ Mr. Tebbit
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we greet his statement with considerable relief? Is he also aware that we congratulate him on the success of his policy in so far as the miners in their pay claim have not named a sum which could be called substantial? Will he say whether the social compact can stand many awards of the sort envisaged at Shell of 25 per cent. and more?
§ Mr. Foot
To deal with the last point first, I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's figure. In any case, so far as I understand the situation no settlement has been reached there. I think we should wait to see what the situation is. As for the relief expressed by the hon. Gentleman at the beginning of his supplementary question, I am not sure whether the nation can rejoice as his relief, but if he understands the situation better the whole country will be glad to hear it.