HC Deb 02 June 1981 vol 5 c766
7. Mr. Eastham

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if his Department will take steps to assist workers who lose their jobs as a result of the proposed plant closure of Laurence Scott Electromotors Ltd., Openshaw, Manchester.

Mr. Peter Morrison

The employment and training services of the Manpower Services Commission will be available to those who wish to take advantage of them. The Commission will make every effort within the limit of its resources to assist those affected to find alternative opportunities for work or training.

Mr. Eastham

Is the Minister aware of the shabby treatment being doled out by the company which recently took over Laurence Scott? Is he aware that only months ago that firm announced that the jobs of 650 workers would be protected? Is he further aware that the factory has been established for 100 years? Does he accept that we are now witnessing the classic case of a firm being smashed to the wall by asset-stripping? Is the Minister prepared to conduct an immediate inquiry since unemployment in Manchester is running at 15.5 per cent?

Mr. Morrison

I am not prepared to conduct an inquiry. It is not Government policy to intervene in such matters.

Mr. Charles Morris

Will the Minister confirm the statement made to my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Marks) and to Paul Foot of theDaily Mirror that the directors of the company made the decision to close the plant on 10 February without any consultation with the trade unions or the work force? Does the Minister accept that such appalling behaviour is contrary to the code of practice in the Employment Protection Act?

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir, I shall not confirm that. I know that the right hon. Gentleman has been to see my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State about the temporary short-time working compensation scheme. I remind him that payments are made to the employees, not to the employers. My Department has written to the company about this matter.

Mr. Marks

Is the Minister aware that employees who have been with the firm for less than 12 years will lose not only their jobs but their redundancy money? Since many are parents of young children and under great stress, will the Minister undertake to examine that aspect?

Mr. Morrison

If there is anything that we can do under existing legislation we shall consider the matter further. The hon. Gentleman is bringing to my attention a matter of which I was unaware.