HC Deb 24 June 1965 vol 714 cc266-8W
Mr. Peter Walker

asked the Minister of Transport into which category of exceptions to Her Majesty's Government's incomes policy, as outlined in paragraph 15 in the White Paper on Prices and Incomes Policy, the increase in pay of 7 per cent, from 23rd June for London Transport's 32,000 bus drivers and conductors comes.

Mr. Tom Fraser

The White Paper says that in circumstances where it is essential in the national interest to improve pay which has fallen seriously out of line, and to secure a change in the distribution of manpower (or prevent a change which would otherwise take place) an exceptional pay increase may be justified.

The information supplied to me by the London Transport Board indicates that these circumstances applied to the Board's bus undertaking when the recent settlement was negotiated.

The pay and conditions of London Transport bus crews were the subject last year of a Committee of Inquiry. The Committee regarded the persistent difficulties experienced by the Board in finding enough staff to fill its establishment as evidence of the relative inadequacy of pay. It said that London Transport needs to attract and to keep the staff required—in point both of quality and quantity—to maintain an adequate service in accordance with its statutory obligations. To do this, it must be able to offer the opportunity for significantly higher earnings, which shall be and remain effectively comparable with earnings in industry".

There is still a serious shortage of bus crews although the previous decline in numbers stopped after the pay increase agreed in 1964 in the light of the Committee's report.