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.
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?
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?
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?