As the Prime Minister has been singularly unlucky in reducing the number of days lost by strikes, which have actually doubled in their rate since last June when the Government abandoned their trade union legislation, would it not be a good idea to make an effort in this field where it is generally accepted that vaccination could reduce the number of days lost through 'flu' by about 30 per cent?
It is a fact, of course, that the number of days lost through illness far transcends the number lost through disputes, however we may deplore the number lost through disputes. The question of vaccination has been raised a number of times in this House. No doubt my hon. Friend would like to pursue it with the Secretary of State and other Ministers at the Department of Health and Social Security.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that some of us are pleased that the hon. Member for Bosworth (Mr. Wyatt) has moved from his perennial attack on trade unions in relation to strikes and is at least asking a Question about something which is costing industry 10 or 15 times more than strikes, which is illness? Surely this is what we should concentrate on within British industry, which is so vital at present?
I am sure that my hon. Friend's concern with influenza can only be healthy for all concerned. It is a fact, of course, that there is a very heavy loss of working days through illness of various kinds. The House is being asked to give approval to a very big step forward in relation to health and safety in industry.
I have answered questions about industrial relations many times, and as recently as last Tuesday. There is no question of "cold feet". I had said that if the T.U.C. would give binding agreements on these matters we would not proceed with our legislation. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman studies what has been achieved, particularly on the matter of inter-union disputes which right hon. Members opposite never began to solve and which their present proposals could only aggravate, he might be a little more satisfied.