HC Deb 16 June 1986 vol 99 c756
68. Mr. Soley

asked the Minister for the Civil Service when he last met the Civil Service unions; and what matters were discussed.

Mr. Luce

I have had no formal meetings with the Civil Service unions, but I did meet them informally on 25 March, and I attended the dinner of the First Division Association on 14 May. Topics of mutual interest were discussed informally.

Mr. Soley

When the Minister had an opportunity to discuss matters informally, did he raise the question of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Crown Agents? Can he tell the House when a supplementary report will be produced and what will be in it?

Mr. Luce

I cannot give the hon. Gentleman a specific answer to his question. It is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development. I shall draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the hon. Gentleman's question.

Dr. McDonald

Is the Minister aware of the deep resentment within the Civil Service and among the Civil Service trade unions over the Government's pursuit of disciplinary proceedings against those who rejoined trade unions at Government Communications Headquarters? Is he aware that, to many, it appears to be a misuse of disciplinary proceedings as it implies that it is wrong to be a civil servant and a member of a trade union? Will he ensure that his right hon. and hon. Friends call a halt to those disciplinary proceedings before any punishment is meted out?

Mr. Luce

The GCHQ is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, who has clearly explained our policy. I have noticed that the report of the Select Committee on the Treasury and Civil Service has expressed the strong view that disciplinary proceedings should be enforced when civil servants abuse their code of conduct.