§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne:
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the number of man hours lost in the Inland Revenue over the past six months by the attendance of staff at union meetings organised during working hours; and what are the rules governing attendance of staff at such meetings.
§ Mr. Peter Rees
[pursuant to his reply, 18 June 1981]: An estimate of the time spent by Inland Revenue staff at union meetings could not be obtained except at disproportionate cost.
Under the provisions of the agreement on trade union facilities managers of offices in the Inland Revenue may allow staff time off for the purpose of attending meetings held to conduct union election business. Time off for other purposes may be allowed with the authority of senior management in the Department. Such authority is given only when it is in the interests of the Department and where attendance contributes to good industrial relations. Pay is stopped when staff attend meetings in working hours without permission.