Union Recognition

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st July 1981.

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Mr. Ron Brown:

asked the Minister for the Civil Service, how many unions are officially recognised by the Civil Service.

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Hounslow Brentford and Isleworth

National recognition has been granted to 21 non-industrial and industrial Civil Service trade unions.

Mr. Brown:

Does the Minister accept that those trade unions have been responsible and moderate for a long time—perhaps too moderate? Does he also appreciate that because of Government policy, particularly wages policy, those moderates are being driven to militancy? That is a fact of life. Does not the Minister also appreciate that pie-in-the-sky inquiries will not solve the dispute? The dispute will go on and will become more and more intense. Is it not more sensible—

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. The hon. Gentleman has asked two questions.

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Hounslow Brentford and Isleworth

The leaders of the nine unions concerned with the non-industrial Civil Service are not showing proper, responsible leadership at present. If at the unions' meeting tomorrow, normal working were to be recommended, the leadership would be showing responsible leadership.

Photo of Alan Williams Alan Williams , Swansea West

In the Minister's relationships with the unions will he make unequivocally clear what he was saying to the right hon. Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins) and to me, which is that the 7 per cent. limit said by the Government to be an absolute ceiling is not an absolute ceiling, but that the Government are willing to negotiate within the 6 per cent. ceiling and that figure s other than and higher than 7 per cent. could be negotiated within that 6 per cent. ceiling? That is what he said earlier.

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Hounslow Brentford and Isleworth

As I have said many times—and as my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council has said, both to the unions and in Parliament—in the judgment of the Government 7 per cent. is the best that can be offered so as not to breach the 6 per cent. cash limit.