Commission on Industrial Relations

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment and Productivity – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st March 1969.

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Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge 12:00 am, 31st March 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Producivity if she will now appoint one or two women members to the Commission on Industrial Relations.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

Although I have no woman in mind for immediate appointment to the C.I.R., I shall certainly consider women equally with men in considering future appointments.

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

May I thank the right hon. Lady for that mildly encouraging reply? Would she not agree, as the Commission is likely to be very much occupied with the problems of women in industry, especially equal pay, that the appointment of at least one woman member should be made as soon as possible? Would this not help to lend extra weight to whatever views the Commission puts forward?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I entirely agree that the C.I.R. should be equipped to deal with problems arising in industries or undertakings which employ large numbers of women. If a large number of cases arise involving problems concerning women employees, I shall certainly consider appointing a woman.

Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many appointments have been made to the Commission on Industrial Relations; and what its eventual membership will be.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

In addition to the chairman, three full-time and two part-time members have so far been appointed. It is too early to say what the eventual membership of the Commission will be. This will depend on the progress the Commission makes and the number of cases requiring reference to it.

Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West

Can my right hon. Friend say how long these appointments are for, what are the salaries in each position, and whether she is satisfied that the numbers appointed are sufficient to do the job which the C.I.R. will ask them to undertake?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I think that if, in a supplementary answer, I were to give all these details for six members I should be in trouble with Mr. Speaker for giving too long an answer. If my hon. Friend puts down a Question we shall ensure that the details are given.

Mr. Gresham Cooke:

Will the Home Secretary be joining the C.I.R.?

Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what studies of industrial relations problems are currently being undertaken by the Commission on Industrial Relations; and what procedure agreements she has referred to the Commission.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I am at present consulting the T.U.C. and the C.B.I. on the initial cases which I hope to refer to the Commission shortly.

Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West

May I ask my right hon. Friend which type of industrial problems the initial references to the Commission are likely to involve, and whether she considers that it would be advisable to put the C.I.R. on a statutory basis as soon as possible?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I am considering referring a case concerned with procedure arrangements in a group of companies in the engineering sector. I have also in mind references concerning trade union recognition, including one in the white-collar sector.

As regards the second part of the question, it is of course pointed out in the White Paper that we intend to put the C.I.R. on a statutory basis in the Industrial Relations Bill.

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

Can the right hon. Lady say when she intends to make the C.I.R. respectable?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

It is impossible to answer an incomprehensible question.