Industrial Relations Bill

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment and Productivity – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4 December 1969.

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Photo of Mr Dudley Smith Mr Dudley Smith , Warwick and Leamington 12:00, 4 December 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what further consultations she plans to have with the Confederation of British Industry over the forthcoming Industrial Relations Bill; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will make a statement on the progress of discussions with the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress on the proposed legislation on trade unions.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

Consultations on detailed proposals made by the Government are now taking place with both the C.B.I. and T.U.C.

Photo of Mr Dudley Smith Mr Dudley Smith , Warwick and Leamington

Can the right hon. Lady confirm that she will publish a White Paper before the Bill? Will she also confirm that, contrary to the Government's undertaking last summer that there would be no penal sanctions in the Bill, there will be such sanctions but that they will be purely discriminatory and levelled against one side only—the employers'?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I will consider the need for publishing a White Paper. The hon. Gentleman knows that consultations are only just beginning in this very important matter and it would be wrong for me to anticipate the outcome with regard to the second part of the supplementary question.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Can my right hon. Friend give any idea as to when the Bill is likely to be published? Does she recognise that there is a good deal of urgency in the matter in the sense that many firms, particularly in Scotland, flatly refuse to recognise trade unions and this is creating the potential for and, indeed, the certainty of very bad industrial relations?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I cannot at this stage give a date for publication of the Bill because, as I have said, the consultations are only just beginning, the proposals are far-reaching and detailed and will require considerable amount of discussion with the T.U.C. and the C.B.I. The recognition question is tremendously important. This is why we have not waited for publication of the Bill. As my hon. Friend is aware, the C.I.R. is dealing with a number of recognition references I have made to it.