HC Deb 11 December 1967 vol 756 cc11-2W
71. Mr. Biffen

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the dispute concerning the British Air Line Pilots' Association.

Mr. Gunter

As the House will know, I had prolonged discussions on 7th and 8th December with representatives of the two Air Corporations, of the British Air Line Pilots' Association (B.A.L.P.A.) and of the National Joint Council for Civil Air Transport. As a result of these meetings, I have decided to set up a court of inquiry with the following terms of reference

  1. "1. To inquire into the causes and circumstances of the present dispute.
  2. 2. To review the machinery of negotiation of the Civil Air Transport Industry.
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  4. 3. To consider how the Air Corporations can best fulfil their duty under Section 23 of the Air Corporations Act, 1967, having regard to the dissatisfaction of B.A.L.P.A. with the existing negotiating machinery;
and to make recommendations.

I hope to announce the membership of the Court in a day or two, and I will ask the court to conduct the inquiry as a matter of urgency.

In the light of this decision, I urged B.A.L.P.A. to cancel the 48-hour strike of their members in B.O.A.C. on 9th and 10th December. I regret that the Association felt unable to agree to this. Their representatives undertook however, provided no disciplinary action was taken against their members for taking part in the strike, to do their best to ensure that no further industrial action takes place pending the outcome of the Inquiry.

I understand that B.O.A.C. pilots have reported for duty in the normal way today and that the Corporation expect that services will return to normal within a short time.