§ Mr. Stan Thorne (Preston, South)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House—[Interruption.] — under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the threatened unemployment at Rockwell Graphic Systems, Preston".The management of that firm, which is part of a conglomerate multinational, the Rockwell International Corporation—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The only reason why I did not ask the hon. Gentleman to wait until the noise had died down was that we have other business and there is a dual debate today. Because those two debates are abbreviated, I wanted to save the time of the House.
§ Mr. Thorne
I shall be as brief as I can.
Rockwell International Corporation has a head office in Pittsburgh. The management in the firm in my constituency claims that there is decline in market demand for rotary presses for the newspaper industry. It is the only manufacturer of rotary presses in the United Kingdom. Recent pruning of the labour force, which has enabled apprentices to be kept on, is to be followed by further job losses in the firm.
The demands of the firm's American masters are that there should be new work practices and further job losses. They argue that there is no alternative, but the trade unions in the firm have produced a plan that suggests that the redundancies are not necessary. Overall, 1,200 jobs are at stake. A debate is essential as a prerequisite to a meeting of the newspaper proprietors, Rockwell, the Department of Industry and the trade unions, so that a plan can be produced to protect the manufacture of rotary presses in the United Kingdom.
The Minister of State, Treasury is to visit the plant on Friday this week because he believes that it is a technically advanced company. He wants to see the CADCAM demonstration project. On those grounds alone, it seems essential that the firm should continue to operate in the United Kingdom; otherwise it would be sensible to take it into public ownership so that we can plan its future.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne) gave me notice before 12 noon today that he would seek to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the threatened unemployment at Rockwell Graphic Systems, Preston".As the House knows, under Standing order No. 10 I am directed to take account of the several factors set out in the order but to give no reasons for my decision. The House will have listened anxiously to what the hon. Gentleman said, but I must rule that his submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order; therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.