Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th November 1970.

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Photo of Mr John Osborn Mr John Osborn , Sheffield, Hallam 12:00 am, 12th November 1970

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is now the number of working days to date this year lost through official, unofficial strikes, and in total; and how this figure compares with previous years.

Photo of Mr Paul Bryan Mr Paul Bryan , Howden

Separate estimates are available only for stoppages known to have been official. The rest of the reply consists of a table of figures which I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT. My hon. Friend will see from this table that in the current year the proportion of working days lost in disputes known to have been official is very small.

Photo of Mr John Osborn Mr John Osborn , Sheffield, Hallam

How does the total figure compare with those of other countries at present? Can my hon. Friend state the extent to which unofficial strikes are increasing due to the activity of mobile guerrilla units such as are operating in South Yorkshire and elsewhere?

Photo of Mr Paul Bryan Mr Paul Bryan , Howden

The most important figure about strikes in this country is the one which shows the way in which they have increased over the last year. This is an escalating picture. The figure of stop- pages this year up to now is 3,196, a 42 per cent. increase on last year, which was itself a record. Already this year looks like being the worst year since the General Strike.

Photo of Mr Paul Rose Mr Paul Rose , Manchester, Blackley

What proportion of those strikes lasted for fewer than three days, and what proportion consisted of a six-weeks' strike of up to 66,000 local authority employees, directly caused by the policies of the hon. Gentleman's Government in putting pressure on local authorities?

Photo of Mr Paul Bryan Mr Paul Bryan , Howden

First, may I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his advent to the Front Bench, which I am sure will be of great value to his party? I cannot tell him exactly how many strikes there have been of less than three days or other duration. But it is the number of strikes which shows the general temperature and condition of our industrial relations. It is for this reason that we are bringing in the Industrial Relations Bill. On the last point, regarding the recent strike, I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend has said about conciliation and so on. I think that he acted absolutely correctly.

Following is the information:

United Kingdom
Working days lost in all stoppages in progress in period ('000s)
TotalAs a result of stoppages known to have been official (included in previous column)
January-September, 1970*7,401492
January-September, 19694,0651,254
January-September, 19683,9082,070
January-September, 19671,750271
* Provisional.