HC Deb 18 January 1979 vol 960 cc2002-3
Mr. Moate

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration. namely, the national rail strike and the threat of continued disruption of the nation's railway system. For the second time this week the whole of the railway network has been paralysed. hundreds of thousands of people have been prevented from going to work or have suffered immense inconvenience, essential freight movements have been prevented and British Rail will lose £2 million for every day of the stoppage.

That this matter is specific and important is self-evident. It is a matter which the House ought to consider urgently. Further daily stoppages now seem certain for next week and mention has also been made of other industrial action in the form of withdrawal of overtime working and a ban on weekend working. Negotiations have so far made matters rather worse and not better.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, whilst this issue is quite separate from other transport disputes, it is clearly exacerbating the situation—in particular, the stopping of goods moving in and out of ports.

In view of the nature of this dispute and its interlinking with major questions of productivity and the annual pay claim, possibly the nation could be facing weeks and months of disruption of the railway system. I therefore submit that this is a matter that should be urgently considered by the House.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Moate) gave me notice before 12 o'clock this morning that he would submit this application to the House in order that the House may discuss the national rail strike and the threat of continued disruption of the nation's railway system. The hon. Gentleman will have heard the comments that I made on the last application, and I say to him and to the House that I shall look at this question again on Monday with a view to the possibility of a debate at seven o'clock on Monday night.

I hope that the House will not be under any misapprehension. If I agree to an emergency debate on Monday night, it can be on only one of the subjects mentioned today and not on all of them.