HC Deb 23 July 1996 vol 282 c189W
Mr. Garnier

To ask the Secretary of state for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of the Government towards access by staff of the security and intelligence services to industrial tribunals. [39610]

Mr. Rifkind

For reasons of national security, staff of the security and intelligence services have been subject to a general ban preventing their access to industrial tribunals. Following advice from the heads of the services, the Home Secretary and I have agreed that there should no longer be a general ban, but that decisions on whether access to industrial tribunals can be allowed should be taken case by case. Staff will be allowed access to an industrial tribunal in those cases where national security considerations can be met by the procedural safeguards available; where they cannot, access will continue to be disallowed.

This change carries forward the Government's policy of protecting national security, while also protecting to the maximum extent possible the employment rights of the staff of the security and intelligence services on whose diligence, professionalism and commitment the nation depends. It does not affect the restrictions on union membership by staff of the services.

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