HC Deb 04 July 2002 vol 388 cc558-9W
Ms Christine Russell

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to guarantee the conditions of local government workers where they have been transferred to the private sector. [64340]

Mr. Raynsford

The Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions announced on 26 March measures to ensure fairness for all staff working on local authority contracts, including those transferred out of local government as a result of an outsourcing of a service.

In broad terms, the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (as amended) (TUPE) protects employees' terms and conditions (except in relation to future occupational pensions) when the business in which they work is transferred from one employer to another, and the business retains its identity.

The measures we have announced include a commitment to legislate to make statutory within local government the provisions in the Cabinet Office `Statement of Practice on Staff Transfers in the Public Sector' and the annex to it, 'A Fair Deal for Staff Pensions'. This will ensure that local authority contracting exercises are conducted on the basis that TUPE will apply, unless there are genuinely exceptional circumstances, and that transferees' pension benefits will be protected. New statutory guidance to local authorities will also set out a package of measures which will ensure that new joiners taken on to work beside transferees on local government contracts will be treated fairly.