HC Deb 20 February 1979 vol 963 cc238-9
13. Mr. Buhner

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average length of time taken by the Central Arbitration Committee to determine a claim under section 11 of the Employment Protection Act.

Mr. Harold Walker

Claims under section 11 are not made to the Central Arbitration Committee.

Mr. Bulmer

Will the Minister explain why the BBC's staff claim was treated with such exceptional speed, particularly in the light of the damaging effect of that settlement on the Government's pay policy?

Mr. Walker

Section 11, to which the question refers, deals with recognition claims by trade unions under the Employment Protection Act. I fail to see what that has to do with the BBC.

Mr. Hayhoe

Surely the Minister must be aware that there was a mistake in the printing of the question. I certainly understood that it referred to schedule 11 and I thought that a mistake had been made, particularly since the question included a reference to the Central Arbitration Committee. Does the Minister have any information about claims under Schedule 11? If so, will he answer the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Bulmer) and indicate how many claims are collusive?

Mr. Walker

It is interesting that the question has been in the form on which it appears on the Order Paper for two weeks. Surely that is adequate time for it to have been corrected. I am sure that the hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Mr. Hayhoe) knows that the House has laid down repeatedly that Ministers ought to answer the questions that are asked and not the questions that they think hon. Members meant to ask.