HC Deb 07 March 1995 vol 256 cc137-8
12. Lady Olga Maitland

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the causes of Britain's current industrial relations situation.

Mr. Paice

The step-by-step reform of trade union and employment legislation has returned control of trade unions to their members and brought realism to the workplace. The industrial relations scene is better than at any time this century.

Lady Olga Maitland

How many working days were lost through strikes last year, and how does that figure compare with the one for 1979? How does Britain's strike record compare with that of the rest of the European Union?

Mr. Paice

Last year only 0.26 million working days were lost in only 178 stoppages. As has already been said this afternoon, that constitutes less than 1 per cent. of the 1979 figure and it is much lower than the averages of the 1970s and 1980s. Our record has been below the European average for the past nine years.

The Labour party has failed to tell the House which reforms it would get rid of if it had the chance to do so. What will be the price of buying off the Transport and General Workers vote on clause IV?

Madam Speaker

We have made abysmally slow progress with Employment questions owing to a combination of factors, such as long answers, long quotes, long questions and far too much noise. Let us make up for that now.