The House will recall that differences between the County Council and some of their professional employees have persisted for a considerable time. The present difference arose over the County Council's regulation that applications for extended sick pay must be made by or through a trade union or other appropriate organisation.
The assistance of my Department was sought in June after some 4,000 teachers employed by the County Council had handed in notice of their resignation from 31st August. At the request of the parties I appointed a Board of Arbitration to determine the difference and the parties undertook in advance to accept and implement any award made by the Board.
Both parties accepted that so far as certain professions were concerned, membership of a trade union or professional organisation should not be imposed as a condition of employment. The agreed terms of reference accordingly included the question whether the present regulations of the Council governing the making of applications for extended sick pay are in conflict with the principle of voluntary membership of a trade union or professional organisation and should therefore be withdrawn. The Board's award is that in so far as the regulations require such applications to be made through a trade union or other appropriate organisation, they are in conflict with that principle and should be withdrawn.
I am arranging for a copy of the award to be placed in the Library of the House.
In view of that statement, and in view of the fact that both parties agreed to accept and implement any award made by the Board, I presume we can now accept the situation as being finally closed?