§ 22. Mr. John Townend
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the future of wages councils.
§ Mr. Alison
Wages councils exist in certain trades and industries where there is no adequate machinery to negotiate wages. They are independent, trade-based bodies with powers under the Wages Councils Act 1979 to set statutory minimum rates of pay, holiday entitlement and certain other conditions. The operation of the Wages Councils Act is kept under constant review. There are no plans at present to amend the Act, but my right hon. Friend is taking a number of steps to streamline the system within the existing legislation and is willing to consider abolition of particular councils or reductions in scope where statutory protection is no longer needed because of the development of collective bargaining. He is also prepared to amalgamate councils where appropriate, and on 9 June last laid an order before the House which merged seven of the clothing councils into one from 20 July.