HC Deb 17 November 1981 vol 13 cc147-8
3. Mr. Dover

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on his plans for further legislation on industrial relations.

Mr. Tebbit

I hope to announce the Government's proposals for further legislation on industrial relations shortly.

Mr. Dover

In view of the representations following the Green Paper on trade union immunities, does my right hon. Friend feel inclined to bring in measures to curb further the power of the trade unions?

Mr. Tebbit

Yes, Sir. The thrust of the majority of reactions to the Green Paper is that it is time for a further step forward in this area. [Interruption.] I hope to make a statement about that matter before long.

Mr. Joseph Dean

The Secretary of State has had a busy time since he was appointed. But has he had the opportunity to read the speech by Lord Scanlon in another place last Thursday, since much of it was devoted to this subject? If the right hon. Gentleman has not read the speech, might I suggest that he does, because he might learn something to help him to deal with the trade unions on behalf of the nation as a whole, not just on behalf of those who responded to the Green Paper?

Mr. Tebbit

I accept the right hon. Gentleman's invitation to read the speech. I am sure that I shall find in it much to buttress my conclusions.

Mr. Adley

I recognise that the Institute of Directors runs a good club and produces a good magazine. But does my right hon. Friend recognise that, when dealing with employers' views on industrial relations, he is more likely to hear the authentic voice of British industry from the CBI than from the dining hall?

Mr. Tebbit

I note what my hon. Friend said. It is right that I should consult widely and listen to people who wish to put forward their views, whether it be the Institute of Directors or the TUC.

Mr. Cyril Smith

Is the Secretary of State as enthusiastic now about worker participation in industry—which is not unrelated to industrial relations—as he was when, in Opposition, he made speeches in support of it?

Mr. Tebbit

Yes. The more participation that there is by management and workers, the better for industry. However, I am not sure whether it is appropriate to legislate and force a framework on employers and unions. Good employers should have the common sense to realise that participation is the way to get the most out of their employees.

Mr. John Evans

What legislation is planned to increase the compensation to workers who are unfairly dismissed by their employers?

Mr. Tebbit

The hon. Gentleman will have to await my statement. I do not propose to unpick the parcel bit by bit at this stage.