§ Mr. Congdon
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how he intends to fund the Commissioner for Protection Against Unlawful Industrial Action.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
The new Commissioner for Protection Against Unlawful Industrial Action is established under section 22 of the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993, which received Royal Assent on 1 July.
The new Commissioner for Protection Against Unlawful Industrial Action will be independent of 811W Government and free from ministerial direction. The commissioner has been established as a non-departmental public body to ensure this independence, while ensuring proper accountability and financial propriety.
The commissioner can provide material assistance, on application, to those individuals contemplating or taking proceedings against trade unions under the new "citizen's right" provision of the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993. This provision allows individuals to bring court proceedings to halt the unlawful organisation of industrial action which deprive them of goods or services.
Parliamentary approval for expenditure on the expenses of the new commissioner will be sought in a supplementary estimate for the Department of Employment's programmes and central services vote-class V. vote 1. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £80,000 will be met by a repayable advance from the Contingencies Fund:
Commissioner for the Protection Against Unlawful Industrial Action (Class V, Vote 1)—£120,000.