HC Deb 15 February 1971 vol 811 cc342-3W
Mr. Hayhoe

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how the estimate of 10.9 per cent. given by him in relation to the increased pay recommended by the Wilberforce Court of Inquiry was arrived at.

Mr. R. Carr

In view of the intense advance speculation, the Chairman of the Court of Inquiry, Lord Wilberforce, informed me that 10.9 per cent. was the figure which the Court had before it as the increase in the wage bill of the Electricity Boards, and therefore in the average earnings of industrial staff, which would flow from the Court's recommendations for increases in basic salaries, overtime pay, and shift allowances in the year from 21st September, 1970. The calculation was on the conventional basis of no change occurring in the industrial labour force during the year. It was on precisely the same basis as that on which the employers' last offer was calculated as 9.7 per cent.

The estimate did not include an element in respect of the additional holiday provision, since the Court took the view that given the degree of slack in the labour force it would be unnecessary to cover the additional odd days off by overtime working.

The figure does not include any element in relation to the Court's proposals for speeding up the introduction of the incentive bonus schemes under the 1967 and 1968 Agreements, or to the "lead-in payments" which are intended to give further incentives to management and workers to achieve this. The Court said that these proposals should not increase costs since they will induce a faster rundown in the labour force. As I said in answer to a Question after my Statement on 10th February, the proposals offer an opportunity to all industrial workers in the industry substantially to increase their earnings without increasing costs to the community.

Average earnings in the year 1970–71 would have increased in any case as incentive bonus schemes came in. The extent to which they will be affected by the accelerated introduction of incentive bonus schemes and the lead-in payments is dependent on many factors such as the number of workers accepting the conditions attached to the lead-in payments, the rate of introduction of schemes and the level of performance achieved under the schemes. I am informed that the Court made no estimate of the effect of this part of their proposals on average earnings, nor could I do so.

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