National Wages Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th June 1952.

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Miss Ward:

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the fact that many skilled workers are underpaid compared with other skilled workers, when he meets the representatives of the Trades Union Congress, he will urge that the interests of the workers would be served if they would discuss within the Trades Union Congress a national wages policy directed to eliminating the grievances which exist.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

No, Sir. Any such matters as these are for settlement by the two sides of industry.

Miss Ward:

I am sorry, but I could not hear what my right hon. Friend said May I ask him to repeat it?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I said: No, Sir. Any such matters as these are for settlement by the two sides of industry.

Miss Ward:

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there are certain legitimate grievances among the workers of this country, like railwaymen and engineers, whose wages appear to be out of balance with the wages of other workers in industry? Would it not be a good idea for once to ask the trade unions if they would look at these grievances themselves rather than necessarily come to the Government for relief?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I do not think that that alters the obvious sense of my original answer, namely, that this is not a matter for me to dictate upon or to animadvert upon, but one to be discussed between the two sides of industry. If at any time the good offices of the Government or of my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Labour can be used, so much the better.

Miss Ward:

But could not my right hon. Friend give some advice and guidance in conversations?