Engineering Industry

Oral Answers to Questions — Oral Answers to Questions – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th November 1979.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Cadbury Mr Jocelyn Cadbury , Birmingham, Northfield 12:00 am, 12th November 1979

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what the effect of the recent engineering industrial dispute will be upon the competitiveness of the engineering industry.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Nelson and Colne

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what the effect of the recent engineering industrial dispute will be upon profitability and job prospects.

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

The costs of the engineering dispute and the settlement are without doubt serious. The effects will be felt—in both the short and the long term—through the further erosion of already meagre profit margins, through price increases, through the impact on relative costs, and through the loss of confidence overseas in this country's ability to deliver on time. Job prospects in the industry can only be worsened.

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Cadbury Mr Jocelyn Cadbury , Birmingham, Northfield

Does my hon. Friend agree that a shorter working week, unless accompanied by an increase in productivity, is bound to lead to more rather than less unemployment?

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

I agree with my hon. Friend. It is one of the sad parts of the settlement of this dispute that job prospects have been so clearly affected.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Nelson and Colne

Will my hon. Friend continue to draw the attention of those employed in the engineering industry to the disastrous effects of the strike, typified by firms such as Tube Investments Ltd., which estimates that the loss of profits that it will incur as a result of the engineering strike will be about £20 million, leading to less net revenue for capital investment, research and development, and the job security of the 60,000 employees in the group?

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

I accept what my hon. Friend says. He will have seen the estimate of the fall in output by the engineering industries in August, which was about 10 per cent.

Photo of Mr Bernard Conlan Mr Bernard Conlan , Gateshead East

Will the hon. Gentleman concede that if he and his hon. Friends had not covertly encouraged the Engineering Employers Federation to resist the legitimate claims of these trade unions the matter would have been settled long before it was, and that therefore responsibility for the damage that was done to this industry rests very largely with the Government?

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

I do not accept the premise on which the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question was posed. Therefore, the second part does not arise.