HC Deb 17 March 1993 vol 221 c310W
Mr. Butterfill

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the impact of United Kingdom working practices on the competitiveness of British industry.

Mr. Sainsbury

Many factors affect the competitiveness of British industry, including working practices. In order to be competitive, industry needs a labour market which is flexible. One of the key aims of this Government is therefore to encourage greater flexibility in the labour market, for example by lifting the burdens on employers who wish to take on labour and encouraging the abolition of restrictive labour practices. Reforms of industrial relations and trade union law have helped to correct previous imbalances of power between unions and employers and to introduce more democratic procedures into unions. Greater flexibility has been introduced into pay bargaining arrangements. The unemployed are being helped to compete effectively in the labour market and to provide industry with the skills it needs. My Department will continue to work closely with the Department of Employment to ensure that British industry continues to benefit from these reforms.