Trades Union Congress (Talks)

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th April 1974.

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Photo of Mr Harry Ewing Mr Harry Ewing , Stirling Falkirk and Grangemouth 12:00 am, 30th April 1974

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he next proposes to meet the TUC.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I expect to continue my discussions with trade union leaders, but at present have no arrangements for a formal meeting with the TUC.

Photo of Mr Harry Ewing Mr Harry Ewing , Stirling Falkirk and Grangemouth

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the meetings that have taken place between himself and the TUC are largely responsible for the new healthy climate in industrial relations? Will he take this opportunity of paying tribute to Hugh Scanlon and the engineering workers for settling their wage dispute and calling off the overtime ban? Will he point out that the social contract is working and that the implementation of the introduction of our own industrial relations policy today is a further indication of the new healthy relationship between the Government and the trade union movement?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I am most grateful to my hon. Friend. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] When the truth is spoken so exquisitely, why should we not all rejoice? My Department tried to assist in getting negotiations going in the engineering industry. That is what we wanted to do, and that is the way to deal with these problems.

Photo of Mr Christopher Tugendhat Mr Christopher Tugendhat , City of London and Westminster South

Will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that when next he has important meetings with the TUC and important decisions are taken, they will be announced by him or by a member of the Government rather than by the General Secretary of the TUC?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

No announcement was made by the General Secretary. The whole procedure was reasonable and proper. I am not sure whether the Opposition, having discovered that they cannot oppose the outcome, are now concentrating their attack on procedure. Which is it?