§ 25. Mr. Tierney
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in the light of 313W the report from the Distributive Trades EDC on manpower and pay in retail distribution, he will now take action on pay and working conditions in the retail trades.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
In the greater part of retail distribution, minimum remuneration remains a matter for the independent wages councils. My right hon. Friend has no power to direct the councils on pay and conditions of employment but all wages councils have been asked to take account of the TUC guidelines, including movement towards the £30 low pay target, when negotiating fresh proposals. On the general question of the effectiveness of the wages council machinery in retail distribution I have had meetings with the two sides and independent members of all the nine retail councils to discuss the proposals for amalgamation of councils in the reports by the Commission on Industrial Relations and the Distributive Trades EDC.