HC Deb 15 May 1978 vol 950 cc20-2
20. Mr. Ovenden

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a further statement on the progress made towards reintroducing pay research into Civil Service pay determination.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

The Pay Research Unit has begun its survey work, which will be carried out under the auspices of the new Pay Research Unit Board. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced the appointments of the chairman and outside members of the Board on 27th February and 10th May respectively.

Mr. Ovenden

In view of recent reports which show that the pay of the Armed Forces, the doctors and the dentists has fallen behind general pay increases, will my right hon. Friend not be surprised if the Pay Research Unit reaches a similar conclusion on Civil Service pay? If it does, will he give an assurance that the Government will face their obligation to give public sector employees a fair deal and that they will not seek to avoid the conclusions of pay research?

Mr. Morris

There are a number of issues that surprise me from time to time. I cannot give any assurances on hypothetical situations that may arise in 1979.

Mr. Adley

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment constantly says that the Government's attitude towards the closed shop is one of neutrality? In the present negotiations and in other negotiations involving the Civil Service, why are the Government so frightened of the imposition of a closed shop on the industry?

Mr. Morris

The closed shop is in no way related to the Question to which I am addressing myself.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

Despite what my right hon. Friend says, will he think again about the proposal put forward to the trade unions about the closed shop before the next round of pay negotiations begins? Is he aware of the strong feeling on this issue which has been generated by the proposals which have been published? Will he think again about the proposals put to the unions and consider whether the closed shop principles which have been accepted for other trade unions outside the public sector should not be adopted for the Civil Service?

Mr. Morris

The Government are well aware of the intense feelings among Civil Service unions on union membership agreements. However, negotiations are proceeding and I do not wish to anticipate the outcome.

24. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on the progress made in dealing with the pay claims of civil servants.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

I expect this week to conclude a settlement with the unions representing non-industrial staff which provides for consolidation of the 1976 and 1977 pay supplements, an across-the-board increase of 9½ per cent. and a start to be made on the rectification of anomalies. The settlement is within the Government's guidelines and the operative date is 1st April.

Negotiations will start shortly on the claim for a substantial increase for industrial staff from 1st July.

Mr. Hamilton

Will my hon. Friend tell us whether, among the people to whom he is referring, there are any on a basic rate of £32 a week? As regards the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock), is he aware that industrial civil servants are on that kind of basic wage? That is intolerable. Does he agree that the proposed phase 4 recommended by the Government of an increase of about 7 per cent. would be understandably unacceptable to those industrial civil servants? Will he assure the House that there will be a degree of flexibility in whatever phase 4 there might be to take care of these highly deserving people?

Mr. Morris

I cannot confirm whether industrial civil servants are on a basic rate of £32 a week, but I can confirm that some have take-home pay of that order.

My hon. Friend referred to phase 4. Industrial civil servants have not at this time received their settlement under phase 3.

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