HC Deb 18 June 1998 vol 314 c503
12. Dr. Brian Iddon (Bolton, South-East)

How many groups of public sector workers, when dismissed unfairly, cannot appeal to an industrial tribunal. [45063]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Mr. Ian McCartney)

Public sector employees with a contract of employment are generally able to complain of unfair dismissal to an industrial tribunal, subject to any qualifying period of continuous employment that may apply. Groups in the public sector who cannot do so include members of the armed forces and office holders who are not employees, including those in the police and the registration services.

Dr. Iddon

I declare an interest as the unremunerated patron of the National Society of Registration Officers. I thank my hon. Friend for his reply. Will he consider correcting, in liaison with the Economic Secretary, who is responsible for registration officers, the anomaly whereby registration officers cannot go to an industrial tribunal when dismissed? The registrar-general himself appears to favour reform.

Mr. McCartney

We want a system of fairness, transparency, clear standards of decision making and proper redress. I assure my hon. Friend that I shall consider the matter with my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary in the positive context in which he approached it.

Mr. Tony Baldry (Banbury)

Will the Minister confirm that people in the public sector, in addition to being able to go to industrial tribunals, can usually go to the Civil Service Appeal Board? Will he seek to ensure that, when the board recommends that a person be reinstated, that person is reinstated and the recommendation not ignored, as appears to have happened in several institutions, particularly the Prison Service?

Mr. McCartney

I take on board what the hon. Gentleman says. I cannot go into individual cases. An independent assessment is made of disputes and that should remain independent of ministerial responsibility.

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