Industrial Relations Act (Confidentiality of Information)

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd May 1972.

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Photo of Mr Leslie Huckfield Mr Leslie Huckfield , Nuneaton 12:00 am, 2nd May 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will seek to amend Section 146 of the Industrial Relations Act to extend the existing right of confidentiality to all categories of information given to staff of the Commission on Industrial Relations and conciliation officers by trade unionists.

Photo of Mr Robin Chichester-Clark Mr Robin Chichester-Clark , County Londonderry

No, Sir. I do not believe further legislation is necessary.

Photo of Mr Leslie Huckfield Mr Leslie Huckfield , Nuneaton

Does the hon. Gentleman feel that conciliation officers and trade unionists particularly will talk freely in conciliation references when they know very well that information which they give on a confidential basis may have to be given later under subpoena to the National Industrial Relations Court?

Photo of Mr Robin Chichester-Clark Mr Robin Chichester-Clark , County Londonderry

The confidentiality of information given to conciliation officers of the Department or the CIR staff is already substantially safeguarded by the Official Secrets Act and the Industrial Relations Act. Where those Measures do not apply, the statement of policy by the President of the NIRC provides adequate safeguards. The House knows that the hon. Gentleman has a great interest in these matters. If he is still not happy about the situation, I shall he glad to talk to him about it.