§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether Her Majesty's Government intend to take any action against their own employees who take part in illegal secondary picketing; if so, what action; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
Civil servants who are absent without permission automatically lose pay and allowances for the period in question. In addition, unauthorised absence is a disciplinary offence, and the Government have made it clear to those staff who took industrial action in support of the dispute about pay in the National Health Service on 23 June that unauthorised absence or failure to obey instructions in connection with a dispute which is not about Civil Service conditions of employment will be liable to disciplinary proceedings. In those circumstances where secondary picketing is unlawful, it is open to the employer against whom secondary picketing is directed to take civil action against those concerned.
Those who breach Civil Service rules on political activity or conduct, whether or not this arises in the course of sympathetic industrial action, will be liable to disciplinary action.