§ 62. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in the light of the recent miners' settlement, he will reconsider his decision not to publish as a White Paper the guidelines of the social contract.
§ Mr. Booth
No. The TUC guidelines on pay were, however, published in paragraph 34 of the TUC report on "Collective Bargaining and the Social Contract" which is as follows34. In summary, the General Council's recommendations to negotiators in the coming period are as follows:
- (i) although the groundwork is being laid for increasing consumption and living standards in the future, the scope for real increases in consumption at present is limited, and a central negotiating objective in the coming period will therefore be to ensure that real incomes are maintained;
- (ii) this will entail claiming compensation for the rise in the cost of living since the last settlement; taking into account that threshold agreements will already have given some compensation for current price increases;
- (iii) an alternative approach would be to negotiate arrangements to keep up with the cost of living during the period of the new agreement;
- (iv) the twelve month interval between major increases should in general continue to apply;
- (v) priority should be given to negotiating agreements which will have beneficial effects on unit costs and efficiency, to reforming pay structures, and to improving job security;
- (vi) priority should also be given to attaining reasonable minimum standards, including the TUC's low pay target of a minimum wage of £30 for a normal week, if not more than 40 hours for those aged 18 and over;
- (vii) a continuing aim is the elimination of discrimination against particular groups, notably women; improving non wage benefits such as sick pay and occupational pension schemes; and progress towards four weeks annual holiday;
- (viii) full use should be made of the conciliation arbitration and mediation services of the CAS to help towards a quick solution of disputes.The General Council will keep the developing situation under review, and will expect unions in difficulties in conforming to the spirit of this policy to inform the General Council of the circumstances and to seek their advice, or to respond to an invitation to discuss the situation with them.
The council's report was overwhelmingly endorsed at the TUC conference in September, where section (vi) of paragraph 34 was amended so as to specify £30 rather than £25 as the minimum wage target.