HC Deb 31 January 1983 vol 36 c22
Mr. Speaker

I have received notice of foul applications under Standing Order No. 9 and I propose to call the hon. Members concerned in the order in which their applications have been received. Mr. Clinton Davis.

3.34 pm
Mr. Clinton Davis (Hackney, Central)

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, redundancies at Metal Box PLC, Hackney branch". You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that I gave you notice of my application.

Last Friday the Metal Box factory, which is the largest remaining manufacturing employer in Hackney, announced that 170 out of a total work force of 538—more than 20 per cent. of the work force—were to be made redundant. This has to be viewed against a background of unemployment in the borough that is now edging up to 27 per cent., one of the worst percentages in the country. The borough suffered a loss of about 1,100 jobs only a few weeks ago consequent upon the closure of the Lesney Match Box toy factory in my constituency.

These redundancies are obviously specific and important. Apart from the distress and anxiety among the workers at the Metal Box company, they are bound to have serious consequencies for other businesses both within and adjacent to the borough.

The matter is urgent, first, because against the backcloth of the deprivation that is being suffered in Hackney and east London, the Government, as well as the local authority and the GLC, have a responsibility to consider how they can help to resolve or mitigate the problems besetting the company and the work force. They must not stand idly by while inner city areas such as Hackney decompose industrially.

Secondly, there is to be a period of 14 days within which the company has announced that discussions are to take place before redundancies begin to be given effect. It is vital that consultation should take place to ascertain what can be done to avert a catastrophe.

Thirdly, consultations hitherto have been a charade, with management telling the work force what is to happen and giving it no opportunity to put its own positive ideas.

I submit that this is a matter which is specific, important and urgent and, therefore, falls within the Standing Order.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis) gave me notice before 12 noon today that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing redundancies at Metal Box PLC, Hackney branch". The House always listens with concern to applications that involve unemployment. However, as the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take into account the several factors set out in the order but to give no reason for my decision. I listened carefully 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.